Motoring Convictions

Women clean up in league of driving convictions

03 March 2010

Male motorists are almost one-and-a-half times more likely to have a driving conviction than female motorists, according to findings from the AA's portfolio of over 1 million car insurance customers.

Overall, 18% of motorists have at least one conviction to their name while 4 per cent have two or more. This compares with 14 per cent in a similar AA survey carried out a decade ago*.

Simon Douglas, director of AA car insurance, says: "The vast majority of convictions – 85 per cent of them – are for speeding offences. Second most likely offence is for jumping traffic lights (9 per cent) while a worrying 2 per cent are drink-drive offences.

"Men are more than twice as likely to have a drink-drive conviction as women.

"The next two most common convictions are for driving without insurance (1.5 per cent) and the relatively new offence of driving whilst using a hand-held mobile telephone (1.3 per cent)."

Regional variation

However, in every UK region men are far more likely to be the motoring lawbreakers than their female driving counterparts.

The UK's most law-abiding motorists appear to be in Northern Ireland with just 9 per cent of men and 6 per cent of women with motoring convictions.

Those in the Midlands top the league table – with 31.5 per cent of men and 16.6 per cent of women having been caught on the wrong side of motoring law. However, Douglas cautions that different detection rates will affect regional figures.


So far as age is concerned, Douglas says: "Most people won't be surprised to find that younger drivers are most likely to have convictions. Almost a quarter of men in the 25-34 age-bracket (23.4 per cent) have at least one motoring conviction. Men aged 25-34 and 35-44 are equally likely to have two or more convictions (6.3 per cent).

"But for women, those aged 35-44 are more likely to have picked up a motoring offence with 18 per cent overall having done so, 4 per cent with two or more to their name."

Douglas says that ten years ago, speed cameras were starting becoming more widespread and have increased dramatically in numbers since then, so perhaps the rising number of convictions isn't surprising.

Men vs Women

Keeping the right side of the law is one of the best ways to keep your premiums in check "It's also noticeable that the gap between men and women with convictions is closing. A decade ago, 11 per cent of women had convictions; today it's 15 per cent, a rise of 4 per cent. And today 20 per cent of men have a conviction, a rise of 3 per cent."

The difference can be attributed to the fact that men drive on average, 20 per cent further than women, according to the latest Department for Transport statistics**, and are thus more likely to suffer driving convictions. However, this compares with a 40 per cent difference in 2002 which accounts for the narrowing conviction gap," Douglas suggests.

The changing difference between men and women is also reflected in car insurance premiums. While teenage male drivers still typically pay twice the premium than their female counterpart, the point at which premiums become more expensive for women is becoming progressively younger.***

"In 2003, the point at which premiums for both sexes became similar was at about age 60, now it's between 45 and 50. This is because more women are becoming car owners, they are driving more often and further and are thus more likely to be involved in accidents – as well as commit driving offences," Douglas says.

Affect on Premiums

"But whatever your age or sex, insurers take notice of driving offences, especially multiple offenders and this is reflected in premiums. That's because regular offenders are much more likely to make an insurance claim than those who have a clean license.

"Keeping the right side of the law is one of the best ways to keep your car insurance premiums in check."

Highs and lows of motoring convictions

  • Most common conviction: speeding (85%)
  • Midlands drivers (male and female) most likely to have motoring convictions
  • Drivers in Northern Ireland (male and female) least likely to have convictions
  • 20 per cent of men and 15 per cent of women have a motoring conviction
  • Men aged 25-34 most likely to have a conviction (23.1%)
  • Women aged 35-44 most likely to have a conviction (17.9)
  • Those most likely to have two or more convictions are men aged 25-44 (6.3%)

Join the discussion in the AA zone

* December 1999

** Department for Transport: Transport Trends 2009 (2008 statistics) and Focus on Personal Travel 2005 (2002 statistics).

*** Based on the cost of comprehensive insurance for a Renault Clio in Cambridge CB1 for male and female owners between ages 17 and 85, over the period 2003 to 2009.


2 March 2010