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AAA: Women Charged with DUI's Jumps 36% in 2010

By: AAA Release
By: AAA Release


TAMPA, FL (Jan. 30, 2012) — The majority of consumers (66%) think men are more likely to get charged with a DUI than a woman, according to AAA’s Consumer Pulse™ survey. While this is accurate, more women in the United States are making the lethal decision to get behind the wheel when intoxicated as shown by the increasing number of DUIs charged to females. In 2010, the number of women who received a DUI increased 36 percent, while the number of men charged decreased by 10 percent, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Click here to read the full AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey.


The rise in women driving while intoxicated may be due to many influences including a greater social acceptance of women drinking, more venues that cater to women’s only happy hours, and increasing social or work functions that may trigger pressure to drink. While nearly four out of five consumers (79%) think it is more socially acceptable for women to drink now than compared to 20 years ago, 30 percent of consumers do not think women process alcohol differently than men, shows data from AAA’s Consumer Pulse™ survey.


Interestingly, the majority of consumers are not aware women can become intoxicated faster than men because women have a higher concentration of body fat (65%) or that variations in hormonal levels can cause women to become intoxicated faster (68%). Just one 16-ounce frozen margarita or a few cocktails can easily cause an average-size female who drinks during a two-hour time period to reach the .08 blood alcohol limit quicker than a man. While amounts will vary by person, it’s important to understand it may not take much alcohol to become legally impaired.


“Going over the limit is very easy to do, and many people may not realize how little alcohol it takes to reach the legal limit,” said Joanna Newton, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group. “Simple planning before you head out for a good time can greatly reduce the chances you will end up behind the wheel of a vehicle when it may not be safe for you to drive. This will help to ensure you, and everyone else on the roadways, makes it home safely to family and friends.” 


AAA stresses the importance of having a plan A for a safe ride home anytime someone goes out to have an alcoholic beverage since it’s uncertain how alcohol will affect a person at any given moment.  


AAA Reminds Women to be Aware of the Following that Can Affect How They Process Alcohol:



  • Amount of body fat versus muscle can impact how alcohol is processed in women

  • Variations in hormonal levels can cause women to become intoxicated quicker than they normally would

  • Men’s bodies are equipped to dilute alcohol more efficiently than women because women have less water content in their bodies than men

  • Women process alcohol slower than men because women have lower concentrations of an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol


Additional Findings from AAA's Consumer Pulse™ Survey:



  • 12 percent of men said they drink alcoholic beverages daily, equal to the 11 percent of women who said they drink daily

  • 28 percent of men said they drink alcoholic beverages 2 to 3 times a week, compared to 18 percent of women who said they drink alocholic beverages 2 to 3 times a week

  • In the past 12 months, 13 percent of men said they have been concerned for a female friend and/or family member's safety who seemed to be intoxicated


The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America.  ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 8.5 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois, Minnesota and Tennessee; and a portion of Indiana.  ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 53 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.


The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among residents living in the Southern Region of The Auto Club Group (Florida, Georgia and Tennessee) from October 12 – 15, 2011.  A total of 604 residents completed the survey.  The survey has a maximum margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points.  Overall survey responses are weighted by gender and age within state to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. 


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