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13November2014

Women drink drivers targeted in Christmas campaign

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M.A.J. LAW

Drink-drive campaigners are targeting female motorists this Christmas after statistics highlighted the number of women driving while over the limit.

More men drink-drive than women, but a recent AA study shown the number of women caught drink-driving is decreasing slower compared to men.  The number of male drivers who failed a breath test after an accident fell by 17.6% between 2010 and 2013, for women the fall was 5.9%.

Another study by Social Research Associates shown the percentage of women convicted of drink-driving has almost doubled in the past 15 years, from 9% of the total caught to 17% by 2012.  The research also revealed one in six female motorists thinks she has driven over the limit in the past year.  

A spokesman behind the government’s THINK! drink-drive campaign said: ‘We constantly monitor drink-drive statistics such as casualties, convictions and police breath test data to inform our campaign.  Young men aged 17 to 29 continue to be our core target audience – men account for two-thirds of all drink-drive casualties, and three-quarters of those killed or seriously injured.  This year we are targeting women to challenge those who drink and drive and to ensure that drink-driving continues to be a socially unacceptable behavior.’

The SRA research suggests that women were more likely to be over the limit than men from the age of 30 upwards.  Women over 40 breath-tested after an accident were more likely to have a very high alcohol level.  Women who admitted to drink-driving gave a variety of reasons, including unexpected telephone calls from children to pick them up, being expected to drive while out with partners and not wanting to risk late-night public transport.

While the issue of women and drink-driving has been stressed in the above studies, men are still responsible for 83% of drink-drive convictions.

Police forces across the country are currently preparing for their Christmas and New Year drink drive campaign.  Last year several authorities ‘named and shamed’ those caught, their mug shots were also printed in local papers.  Some plan to do the same this year.  A spokeswoman for Dorset police said: ‘We will be releasing the names of those who have been charged with drink driving to media again this year.  Hopefully this is pushing out the message not to drink and drive.’

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