A rise in the number of women who drink and drive has prompted a police focus on women drivers in the lead up to Christmas.

This comes as road safety awareness campaign, THINK!, has announced it will also focus on challenging women who drink before getting behind the wheel as part of its Christmas drink-driving campaign, following a rise in convicted female drink drivers.

Research conducted by Social Research Associates (SRA) shows that the number of women convicted of drink-driving has almost doubled from 9% in 1998 to 17% in 2012.

The SRA has cited several reasons behind why women may choose to drink and drive, including unexpected calls from teenage children to pick them up, not wanting to use late-night public transport, or driving when out and a partner is over the drink-drive limit.

During 2012, 230 people were killed as a result of drink-driving, with male drivers representing around 83% of drink-driving convictions.

Serious injury solicitor and chair of RoadPeace North East, David Robinson, said: “In the lead up to Christmas there is rightly a very public clampdown on drink-driving due to the increased temptations of the season. The combination of a visible police presence and intensive awareness campaigns on the TV and radio are almost as much a part of the scene as fairy lights and mistletoe and there is a risk that it loses its impact as a result. The figures show a rise in the number of women exceeding the drink limit before driving and that’s worrying when drink-driving is a serious offence which can devastate lives.

“It is vital that all drivers - young, or old, male or female - are aware of the legal and personal impact that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can have, both at Christmas and throughout the year.”