For Women, Closing the Drunk Driving Gap Is Not Progress

DWI equality should not be taken as a sign of anything good.

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

There are some instances in which affirmative action is still necessary, but sparing women from arrests for drunk driving is not one of them. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, women caught driving under the influence used to stand a better chance of catching breaks from police officers than men, but not anymore.

Good. The fact is, a car is an equally lethal weapon when a drunk woman is behind the wheel as it is when a drunk man is driving. So why should women get off any easier when they are undertaking one of the most irresponsible acts a citizen can perform? The answer is, there is no reason.

Last week, a sobering report came out showing that drinking and drunk driving are on the rise among women. That is not good news—that is not the kind of progress toward parity any woman or father of daughters wants to witness. From the Sun-Times:

Nationwide, 126,000 women were arrested for DUI in 1998—a number that climbed to 162,000 in 2007. Meanwhile, 677,000 men were busted for being under the influence in 1998—a number that fell to 626,000 in 2007.

College drinking has a lot to do with it. That has risen in recent years, and since more females than males populate the campuses of many co-ed liberal arts institutions, more young women are drinking. This is not progress.

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