Relative Comparison of the Extent of Drink-Driving by Females and Males in Victoria

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #79 - 1995

Authors: N. Mullan, K. Diamantopoulou & M. Cameron

Full report in .pdf format [3.1MB]


This study resulted from random breath tests on Melbourne freeways which indicated that female drink-drivers may be a larger problem than previously thought. It aimed to make a relative comparison of the extent of drink-driving by females and males in Victoria, using data available to the researchers at the time.

Several sets of data on random breath testing were obtained from the Victoria Police. It was confirmed that on Melbourne freeways, during the hours of midnight to 6 am Saturday mornings, there was a relatively high proportion of female drivers with illegal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) for the years 1991 and 1992 compared with male drivers. This difference became less pronounced in subsequent years and on other major roads and at other times of the week the proportion of female drink-drivers with illegal BAC was lower than the male proportions.

Information from Breathalyser operator reports allowed an examination of the characteristics of those drivers apprehended for drink-driving through random breath tests and routine Police checks. For female drink-drivers in Melbourne, those aged 30 to 39 years contributed a high percentage of the females apprehended (38%). Forty-nine percent of these drivers had a relatively low BAC reading of less than 0.100g/100ml and those with managerial or administrative occupations were over-represented. In contrast, a high percentage of the female drink-drivers apprehended in the rest of Victoria had an excessive BAC reading over 0.150g/100ml. Unemployed females were over-represented among those apprehended in the rest of Victoria.

Trends in the proportion of drivers killed in Victoria with illegal BAC were analysed for the ten year period 1984-1993. Female drivers showed a sharp decrease in this proportion during 1992 yet males did not show the same significant change. It was concluded that the record drop in the proportion of drivers killed with illegal BAC in 1992 was largely due to the substantial reduction in female drink-drivers killed.