Daily Archives: 07/11/2014

Number of women with drink driving conviction doubles in 14 years

This article about women and drink driving convictions was in the Daily Mail recently and thought I would share it here.

Women accounted for fewer than one in ten (9 per cent) of drink-drive convictions in 1998, but this figure had risen to around one in six (17 per cent) by 2012, the survey revealed.  And last year some 803 women failed a breathalyser test after an accident.  Women aged 40 to 44 have a disproportionately high incidence of being over the breath-test limit, it says.

The report says bad drinking habits learned by ‘ladettes’ in their youth have followed them into their thirties and forties today.  Female ‘emancipation’ has also played a part in the rise as more single, independent, working women prefer to drive home after a drink than risk late night public transport or a taxi.

The report was published by car insurance company Direct Line, transport organisation the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund, and Social Research Associates.  It also showed that one in six (17 per cent) of female motorists thought they had driven while over the legal alcohol limit in the past year.  As many as six out of ten (60 per cent) of the women polled said they did not know the legal limit.  And in almost all cases, respondents felt they were personally able to drink more alcohol than the ‘average woman’ before they were over the legal limit.  And the report notes: ‘Taking account of mileage driven, women are proportionately more likely to be over the legal limit as drivers than men from the age of 30.’

Among the women who admitted to drink-driving, the most common reason for doing so was because they felt physically ‘okay’ to drive, as cited by six out of ten (59 per cent).  Almost a third (31 per cent) thought it would be fine to drink ‘if they just drove carefully’.  And one in six (17 per cent) felt they had no alternative other than to drink and drive, often due to ‘family emergencies’.  An alarming one in seven (14 per cent) said they drove while over the limit because they thought there was little risk of being caught.

A quarter of women either drink ‘most days or every day with wine the most favoured tipple cited by three quarters of those surveyed. Most drink in their own home or a friend’s.

I find it really interesting that women aged 40 to 44 have a disproportionately high incidence of being over the breath-test limit.  I didn’t drink driven at night although I am sure there were days when if I’d been stopped the next morning I would have failed a breath test.  Are these women over the limit because they have a higher tolerance to boooze as they have been drinking for a larger part of their adult life and therefore underestimate the amount they are drinking because they don’t feel drunk therefore putting them over?

Edited to add: 2 days later and an article headline agrees completely with my hypothesis:  ‘I didn’t feel drunk, not even tipsy: the rise of female drink-drivers http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/nov/09/the-rise-of-women-drink-drivers featuring Rachel from Sober is the new black and Lucy from Soberistas