Did this Napa school bus driver take a wine tasting detour? A school bus driver in Napa was recently arrested for driving under the influence after she damaged the undercarriage of her bus with 28 students on board. Fortunately, none of the students were injured.
As hard as it is to believe that a school bus driver would be driving under the influence, this Napa driver is not the only one. The same week the Napa driver was arrested, another bus driver was arrested for driving under the influence of prescription drugs in Boulder County, Colorado after she lost control of her bus, which resulted in the serious injury to two of the eight children on board.
A month before these two incidents, a school bus driver in Lincoln Rhode Island stumbled off her bus after having driven students from school. She was arrested for drunk driving.
And yet another school bus driver in Stroudsburg Pennsylvania was arrested for DUI after scaring the children on her bus by her erratic driving.
All of these women are facing not only DUI charges but the far more serious charge of child endangerment.
These incidents also highlight the significant increase in DUI arrests of women in the past decade. The FBI data shows that DUI arrests of women have increased by over 20% nationwide in the last decade. Interestingly, DUI arrests of men have decreased by almost the same percentage. Men still account for three times as many DUI arrests, but the women are catching up.
Some of this increase may be attributable to the increased arrested for driving under the influence of prescription drugs. Other possible explanations include the increased presence of women in high stress, high earning jobs, which causes stress drinking or overuse of prescription drugs and also creates an environment where women are doing more social drinking. Since women metabolize alcohol in a way that affects their blood alcohol level quicker than men, women are more likely to be legally over the limit for driving after consuming fewer drinks than a man would.
California, like the rest of the country, has seen a significant rise in DUI arrests among women. Much of this increase is driven by arrests of young women between the ages of 21 to 30 years old. The number of women arrested in this age cohort jumped by 134 percent in the last decade. And surprisingly, the number of women over the age of 50 also saw a large increase in DUI arrests over the same period. Even in the oldest group, women over the age of 70, the number of DUI arrests in California over the last decade increased by 76 percent. While the number of women arrested for DUI in California increased, the number of men similarly arrested decreased.
There has been little attention paid to the increase in women arrested for DUI and few if any studies that provide clues to help explain this phenomenon. Women need to be aware that they can’t “drink like a man” because their bodies metabolize alcohol differently. They also need to be educated on the dangers of driving under the influence of certain prescription medications or worse, combining those medications with alcohol.