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Updated on October 11, 2012


The UK has had strict limits in place to curb drink driving for a considerable period of time now and over the years the driving public, however reluctantly has found itself complying more and more to those limits. Even so, though incidents of drink driving still abound and accidents and tragedies still obtain far too often for anyone to claim that the public is wholly converted to leaving the car behind if alcohol likely to go over the limit has been consumed.

New statistics show a good drop in convictions for drink driving between 1990 and 2010 for example. In 1990, 113,00 people were found guilty of drink driving offences. This figure dropped to 55,000 in 2010, a decrease of over 50%. No room for complacency but encouraging nevertheless. However behind those front statistics, there is a worrying trend. In 1990, 6,500 females were convicted but in 2010, the figure had risen to 9,000. In percentage terms for their times this means that in 1990, women made up just 6% of convictions but in 2010 the figure had risen to 17% , almost trebling in just 20 years.

Changes in social patterns can trace these developments. The past two decades have seen the development ,especially in girls and young women of what is termed a "ladette" culture. This takes the form of those involved, hitting the town and city centres, especially but not exclusively at weekends, dressed in skimpy outfits and embarking on binge drinking sessions till the early hours of the next morning. Often, the participants "fuel up" at the home of one of the party before going out ,to the extent that they are drunk before they ever enter a bar or club to avail themselves of the promotional offers for more available to women at many establishments.

To be strictly fair to this new phenomena, they are not the women more usually causing drink drive offences, since they tend to use taxis, but the rise in the amount of alcohol young women now consume gives rising fears for the future based on the evidence available today. In fact, the women currently causing the dramatic rises in drink drive convictions are more likely to be their mothers, or even grandmothers in some cases.


The limits imposed on levels acceptable to drive within have lead to a significant change in habits, especially from men with wives or partners accompanying them on social activities. . basically, a couple go out as a pair, both have drinks, the man determines he is over the limit, so the woman becomes the designated driver. That, plus the ever escalating number of female drivers is identified as the seated cause of the rise in female convictions.

Surveys conducted into the matter confirmed over 60% of men would be driven home by a female partner after such an evening, whilst 85% of women were of that opinion when asked.

THE LEGAL LIMIT IN THE UK IS 35 MICROGRAMS IN 100 MICROGRAMS OF BREATH. SOME POLICE FORCES WILL ALLOW A SMALL TOLERANCE LEVEL ON THIS TO COVER, BREATH TEST EQUIPMENT FACTORS. Women, it appears , when tested are often revealing as much as 52 micrograms, well beyond the limit, and most claim only to have had ," a couple of glasses of wine ".

The mention of wine is in itself indicative of a shift in drinking habits over recent decades. The UK has, over recent times, espoused wines from all parts of the globe with a passion.In this veritable sea change of drinking habits, none have been keener to join this trend than women, for whom it is now the preferred choice for most.

However, in this new trend, another has also been incorporated. Years ago, a wine glass used in most establishments measured 125ml. Now the trend is all the way to 250ml, whilst alcohol levels have also been raised to a point where 12/13% are the basic. Thus, the "couple of glasses" claimed to be the limit of consumption by many stopped for measurement is the equivalent of 4 plus sometime ago and if the "couple was in fact,3 OR 4,then it is easy to see how the figures of offending females have risen so dramatically.

Clearly, the female population in the UK needs to address the general rise in alcoholic consumption before it becomes even more problematical, but it is incorrect to use the increasing convictions as a stick to beat them with, for it is also clear that their male escorts need to think things more clearly than simply abrogating responsibility for transport to the home, to their female partner.

It is not rocket science for a couple embarking on an evening out, to determine if one of them is to be drink free. If both wish to consume, then taking a Taxi is the only sensible route, if real regrets are not to possibly be met on the next day. This does nothing of course, to deal with the increasing amounts of alcohol being legally consumed in the safety and privacy of the home. That also is an increasing problem, but one that will require much more effort to curtail.


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