Party season is upon us, with some of the biggest bash’s happening over the next couple of weeks. It’s no surprise that we are a nation that likes to drink on a night out, while a way to relax for many, this year’s Christmas celebrations could see an increase in drink driving offences committed by both men and women.
However, new research reveals that women are less likely to be tested for alcohol! Five times less likely in fact. The Freedom of Information act allows anyone to view the findings from well known car insurer Direct Line. They discovered that only 23% of roadside breath tests were so far conducted on women. Also that a lower percentage of women fail the test than men do, however, that’s not to say that women do not commit drink driving offenses as often as their male counterparts do!
North Wales sees the highest breath-testing rate in the country, at 72 tests for every 1,000 drivers between the months of August 2013 and August 2014. Despite this high rate, only 29% of these tests taken at the roadside were carried out on women. On average the rate for breath-testing is around 12 tests per 1,000 people. While one in 10 men failed compared to only 7% of women failing the breath test when taken.
This might actually make women drivers look like angels compared to male drivers. In reality this is not the case: Previous research carried out by the same insurance company found out that 17 per cent of female motorists have driven whilst over the limit in the past year. The offenders were asked why they did this, knowing full well of the implications of drink driving. A 14 per cent of those questioned said that they felt they would not be caught or little risk of it happening.
Gus Park, commercial director of motor at Direct Line, said “Roadside testing is an important deterrent and helps improve driver safety by keeping intoxicated motorists off the road. With such a small difference between the proportion of men and women who pass a breath test, it’s surprising to see such a discrepancy in the overall numbers being tested.
The reason why men are tested for alcohol on their breath more than women is unclear at present. It could be to do with the notion that many have about women driver’s being less likely to drink and drive. The reality couldn’t be more different, women drivers are just as likely to drink and then get behind the steering wheel. In fact, knowing that they are less likely to be tested, could encourage many more women to take the risk this festive season. This is an unfortunate trend that we at Want Driving Lessons hope is addressed by the DSA and DVLA. After all, the less people drinking and driving this year will naturally lead to fewer drink-related road traffic accidents.
There’s nothing stopping anyone from having a good time this Christmas- but don’t take the risk. Have an allocated non-drinking driver get you and your friends home safe and sound!