Women now account for 17 per cent of drink-driving convictions in the UK, which is almost double what it was back in the late nineties. Men have traditionally been more likely to be pulled over on suspicion of drink driving, but this is now changing. The police have warned that women are going to be targeted over this coming Christmas period (2014) in an attempt to turn back the tide.
A recent survey has found that females are ill informed about the dangers of drink-driving despite an aggressive advertising campaign over the past few decades – there have actually been fifty years of drink driving advertisements. Many claim that they feel safer driving after they have had a few drinks, and a high proportion admitted to not even knowing the legal limit. A worryingly high number claim to have a higher capacity to handle drink than other women do.
Drinking alcohol reduces people’s ability to make good decisions, and it slows down their reflexes. This means that anyone who is driving while affected by alcohol is far more likely to have an accident than the person who is sober. The relationship between drink driving and accidents is undeniable, and this behaviour accounts for hundreds of deaths each year in the UK alone.
Despite the fact that the evidence is so clear about the dangers of drink driving, individuals are still willing to do it because they believe they can get away with it. The problem is that while alcohol reduces a person’s ability to drive safely, it also fools them into believing that they are safe to drive. It also boosts their confidence, which can cause them to behave recklessly.
Do Drink Driving Statistics Suggest a New Pattern of Alcoholism?
The fact that people are caught drink driving does not necessarily mean that the person is an alcoholic, but there is definitely a link between the two. In fact, it is common to read about individuals who go to rehab in response to a drink driving conviction. This pattern of increasing drink driving convictions is being matched by a rise in the number of female alcoholics. Twenty-eight per cent of women now admit to drinking more than the recommended limits (source: Alcohol Concern). Men are still more likely to die from alcohol abuse, but there has been a significant increase in the number of women dying from this type of substance abuse since the 1980s – the number has doubled, and it is mostly females under the age of 34.
This new pattern of alcoholism has been blamed on societal changes and the increasing pressures of modern living. Even up until the eighties, there was a taboo on women overindulging in alcohol, but the social pressure to drink sensibly is no longer there. The ‘lad culture’ of getting drunk at the weekend has now become a behaviour that many women find acceptable as well – you only have to walk around any UK city centre at midnight at the weekends to see this. More females have a career these days, and so they feel they have the right to let their hair down at the weekends, just as the men do.
One of the other reasons why there has been a rise in the number of female alcohol abusers is the fact that there is now far more effort put into advertising drinks to this target group. There are also plenty of movies and TV shows glamorising drinking and making it seem a necessary component of a modern women’s lifestyle.
Women are more in danger from alcohol than men are because their body is less well able to process this toxin. There is also the problem that many of the available treatments are tailored more towards men. Things will need to change in order to accommodate the rising number of female alcoholics who need help.