Redding, CA- Men were and still are arrested for driving under the influence at a higher rate than women. That tide, however, is shifting with law enforcement agencies across California, and the country as a whole, seeing an increase of DUI arrests among women at time when men arrested for DUI is decreasing.

Data from the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows that after reaching a peak in 2008, DUI arrests have actually been decreasing, but not for women. Men accounted for 76.5 percent of drunken driving arrests in 2011, while women accounted for 23.5 percent of DUI arrests. That’s still a lower proportion of overall DUI arrests, but a steady increase over 1989 when women accounted for only 10.6 percent of DUI arrests.

Young women, between the ages of 21 and 30, appear to be driving the increase of arrests among women. That age group represented 51.7 percent of all DUI arrests throughout the state. Older women, those over the age of 50, also account for a larger proportion of DUI arrests.

Why DUI arrests among women are increasing is not an easy question to answer. A study conducted by Canada-based Traffic Injury Research Foundation last year concluded that the changing roles women play today factor into the increase of DUI arrests.

Researchers interviewed 200 women, who were arrested for DUI, in California, Michigan, Missouri and New York to see what is pushing them to drink and drive.

While the fact that more women are driving now than they did in is one factor, there are more complicated issues behind the increase of DUI arrests for women. TIRF researchers found that women often develop their drinking habits later in life and those habits can quickly spiral into a serious alcohol addiction.

In many case these drinking problems are spurred by a major life stressor such a death, job loss, divorce or empty nest. Many women suffer from mental illness and use alcohol to self-medicate or combing drinking with prescription drug use.

Women in the TIRF study tended to be single, divorced or separated, and were primary caregivers and breadwinners for their children. This means that more women are driving drunk with their children in the vehicles which in California carries enhanced penalties.

Even though women are drinking and driving at a higher rate they are more likely to successfully complete supervisory and treatment programs, the TIRF study found.

When it comes to the law, your gender doesn’t change the penalties for driving under the influence. Male or female, a DUI conviction can entail incarceration, loss of driver’s license and costly fines and fees. A DUI conviction can be a major headache for anyone, but with the representation of a Redding DUI attorney, it is possible to ease some of the resulting consequences.

Once you have been charged with a DUI, you should consult with one of our California DUI attorneys immediately. They will begin working on your case and determine how to approach your defense so you have a greater chance of preventing your conviction.