As school holidays and Christmas approach, police hope local residents will be more conscious about the dangers of drinking before they drive.
As school holidays and Christmas approach, police hope local residents will be more conscious about the dangers of drinking before they drive. MarianVejcik

GENDER BENDER: More women drive Gympie's booze shame

GYMPIE has one of the worst rates of male drink-drive offenders in the state but women still make up 20 per cent of boozy road-users.

Exclusive Queensland Police data shows the region's cops handed out 394 driving under the influence tickets in Gympie over the past two financial years, with 80.2 per cent - or 316 - of the charges clocked up by males.

Of the 13 major centres compared, Gympie had the third highest rate of male offenders.

Local drivers are more likely to blow a blood-alcohol level of .05-.10.   

Road trauma expert Professor Kerry Armstrong said "sociological factors" meant women were more at risk of drinking and driving now than in the past.

"The numbers are likely to be increasing because women are more likely to have access to their own money and they often live in multi-vehicle households so they are more mobile," said the research fellow at QUT's Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety - Queensland.

"And part of it is that women may be inadvertently caught out early in the morning after drinking as they take kids to school or other activities."

Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service chief operating officer Karlyn Chettleburgh said local hospitals experienced a spike in drug and alcohol presentations - including people injured on the road - during the Christmas-New Year period.

"These also often fall on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays," she said.

"To accommodate this, the health service adjusts its medical and nursing rosters.

"SCHHS provides high school students with an insight into the consequences of alcohol and risk related trauma through its Prevent Alcohol Related Trauma in Youth (PARTY) program."

Queensland Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Mike Keating said 25 per cent of people who died in traffic crashes over the past 10 years had an excess amount of alcohol in their blood.

"We have seen improvements over time but we also have seen that some people are not getting the message to not drink and drive," Mr Keating said.

"The message is simple - if you are going out to have a drink, have a Plan B."

The Queensland Government will spend $1.765billion this financial year on alcohol, drug and mental health services across the state.

- NewsRegional

BY THE NUMBERS

Drink-driving rates by gender across Queensland in 2016-2018

REGION, MALE, FEMALE

BRISBANE, 78.9%, 21.1%

BUNDABERG, 76.5%, 23.5%

CAIRNS, 62.8%, 37.2%

FRASER COAST, 77.7%, 22.3%

GOLD COAST, 75.7%, 24.3%

GLADSTONE, 87.6%, 12.4%

GYMPIE , 80.2%, 19.8%

IPSWICH, 80.2%, 19.8%

MACKAY, 77.2%, 22.8%

ROCKHAMPTON, 78%, 22%

SUNSHINE COAST, 70.5%, 29.5%

TOOWOOMBA, 78%, 22%

TOWNSVILLE, 76.4% ,23.6%

WARWICK, 82.8%, 17.2%

QUEENSLAND, 77.7%, 22.3%

Source: Queensland Police