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Number Of Women Arrested For DUI Has Doubled Over Past 30 Years

LOS ANGELES ( — The number of women arrested for driving under the influence has more than doubled over the past 30 years, according to recent studies.

Nearly 25 percent of those arrested for DUI in the United States are women, according to the Bureau of Justice. In 1980, only 9 percent were female drivers.

"I think it's probably stress at work. There's a lot more women in the workforce," West Los Angeles resident Cynthia Leon said.

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation, a non-profit organization, interviewed a large group of women who had been arrested for DUI and found more than half were single, separated or divorced.

Their report stated almost all the women said their arrest was following a stressful event such as a death in the family or a breakup.

More than three-quarters of the women said they used at least one prescription medication for anxiety, depression or other disorders.

"Men have in the past been the driver. I think there are a lot of single women, I see it all the time. Groups of women, and I don't see a designated driver," Culver City resident Liz said.

The Canadian group's study found the women fell into three categories:  young women drinking in order to "fit in", recently married women with children who drink to cope with loneliness after their children are born and older women or "empty nesters" who drink following an incident such as the death of a parent, a divorce or a child leaving home.

Researchers say the reasons for the increase in numbers may be that more women are on the road and female drivers are more likely to be arrested since many states have cracked down on the legal definition of intoxication.

"It's a terrible risk for yourself, for society and it can easily be avoided," Frances Adachi said.

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