The DUI investigation system has been developed with men in mind, making it patently unfair to women. Even today, statistics show that the vast majority of subjects arrested are males (in a 12-county sample out of 22,000 arrests only 3,000 were women). In 1975 only 8% of those arrested were female. Statistics show a near doubling of arrests to 15% since 1975. The blood alcohol machines are, to a certain extent, set with a man's physiology in mind, making for less accurate results for woman.
A woman's body composition differs markedly from a man's, which has a great deal of relevance when it comes to alcohol absorption, distribution and elimination. It was commonly thought that women more readily show the effects of alcohol because their bodies have more fat tissue and less water than a man. The fat tissue is not easily penetrated by alcohol, whereas consumed alcohol diffuses uniformly into all of the body's water. When you consider a woman's lower total water content (and higher fat content) a given amount of alcohol becomes more concentrated in a woman's body than in a man's. Thus there are studies that have found women become under the influence of alcohol after drinking 20% to 30% less alcohol then men.
Also of interest is that the breath machine has been designed for an average man's lung capacity so that the breath test reads at higher levels for a woman. That same breath machine is set to expect exhaled breath at 34 degrees Celsius, with every degree above resulting in a false high. As a woman's body temperature is commonly elevated during the menstrual cycle and menopause, false highs to some degree are a concern. Also, officers are not trained to assess women, making it far more difficult to judge their intoxication level, regardless of experience.
Recently, women have been found to lack an enzyme is thought to provide a protective barrier in the stomach by breaking down alcohol before it circulates in the body. This may cause a larger proportion of the ingested alcohol to reach the blood system prior to being converted, by enzymes, to acetate which is readily eliminated into carbon dioxide and water.
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