Police conduct a traffic blitz.
Police conduct a traffic blitz. john mccutcheon

Three women caught driving at five times the legal limit

THE number of women binge drinking and driving while drunk is reaching crisis point on the Sunshine Coast.

In the past 20 days, three women have been caught driving with alcohol levels more than five times the legal limit. The latest was a 26-year-old Currimundi woman who allegedly drove with a blood/alcohol level of 0.306% with three children in the car.

She was stopped by police after she was seen swerving on the Nicklin Way on Saturday night.

A week earlier a woman was allegedly caught driving at 0.265% along the same stretch of road. Two weeks before that, a woman was caught with a reading of 0.247 in Maroochydore.

President of the Sunshine Coast Local Medical Association, Dr Wayne Herdy, said female binge drinking was a major concern for health professionals.

"We are seeing this day in and day out," he said.

"Females are drinking way beyond their means and becoming extremely intoxicated.

"The fact that women are getting behind the wheel at those sorts of levels is just disturbing and highlights the great concern we have."

According to a NSW report, the percentage of females convicted of drink-driving is at a record high and set to continue rising.

In 2011, 20% of all people convicted of drink-driving in that state were women - up from 17 % a decade ago.

National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre senior lecturer Lucy Burns said women's drinking habits were becoming more like men.

"We are seeing young women drinking more alcohol in any one sitting than ever before and middle-aged women are drinking more frequently," Dr Burns said.

There were several reasons for the trend, including women drink-driving to protect their inebriated husbands or partners, high levels of stress and conflict.

Dr Herdy said alcohol advertising could also be to blame.

"One of our main concerns has been with the alco-pops, which are made with milk or sugar and are made to be attracted to the tastes of young people and females," he said.

"They are clearly marketed at a certain age group or a certain gender and can be

extremely dangerous."

The woman caught drink-driving on Saturday has been charged with driving while under the influence, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle while adversely affected and endangering the life of a child.

She will face Caloundra Magistrates Court on January 24.

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