Female Drink-Driving Figures Soar

Shock Surge In Women Caught Over The Limit, Poll Shows


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
The proportion of drink-driving statistics accounted for by women has almost doubled since 1998, according to new data.

Figures compiled and analysed by car insurer Direct Line and transport body the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund revealed that women made up 17 per cent of drink-drive convictions in 2012, compared with only nine per cent in 1998.

The study found a common reason for women going over the limit was a failure to know just how much they could legally drink, with 60 per cent unable to identify this.

Most of the respondents said they believed they could drink more than the "average woman" before getting behind the wheel, while 59 per cent of those who admitted to drink-driving said they felt okay to get in their cars despite having just consumed alcohol.

Another 31 per cent said they felt they would be fine if they were careful and 17 per cent said they had no option but to drive, due to situations such as family emergencies. A further 14 per cent said they drove because they thought they would get away with it.

Responding to the news, road safety minister Robert Goodwill said: "Drink-driving wrecks lives, and the personal consequences of a drink-drive conviction can be devastating. In 2013, 803 women failed a breathalyser test after an accident and that is 803 too many."

He said the government is to launch another phase of its THINK! campaign against drink-driving and close the legal loopholes that some have used to try to get out of being convicted.

Managing director of claims at Direct Line Steve Maddock said: "Part of the problem is a lack of awareness and confusion as to what constitutes drink-driving and also the misguided belief that in some circumstances, driving while over the limit can be justified."

Despite the rise in female prosecutions, casualty figures for drink-driving have fallen steadily.

In 2012, there were 230 deaths and 1,200 serious injuries resulting from drink-drive incidents, compared with 460 fatalities and 2,520 serious injury cases in 1998.

Expert Opinion
Just one drink can have seriously impair a driver’s ability. Accidents caused by drink-driving motorists can have devastating consequences for other road users. When driving a vehicle after consuming alcohol, not only are you a threat to yourself, you also put passengers, other drivers and pedestrians at risk.

“It is very troubling to see that the number of women getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol is increasing, particularly as many feel they can drink more than other people and still be capable of driving safely and some simply believe they will not get caught.

“In our work we have been involved in many road traffic cases, resulting in death or life changing injuries for those involved, where alcohol played a significant part in the collision.”
Jonathan Peacock, Partner