Convictions for women have risen by almost a quarter over the last five years, because of the growing number of speed cameras on UK roads and the increasing numbers of women doing high mileages for business.
The number of men convicted during the same period fell by 14%, although the total number of male speeders still vastly outnumbers women.
According to Home Office statistics, the number of women convicted of speeding offences rose from 20,075 in 1998 to 24,920 in 2003. Male convictions fell to 115,078.
The figures are based on the number of convictions in court for severe speeding offences, rather than fixed penalty notices issued for lesser speed limit breaches.
Ruth Bridger, project manager at the AA Motoring Trust, said: ‘In the past, when you were stopped by the police, in some instances they told you off rather than gave you a ticket.
‘We suspect police were more likely to tell a woman off than give her a ticket, whereas men were a bit more argumentative. Speed cameras, however, don’t discriminate.’
Bridger said women were driving more like men than in days gone by.
She said: ‘Women over the years are driving more aggressively than their mothers were.’
Peter Marsh, director of the Social Issues Research Centre, agreed. He said: ‘Women are becoming far more risk-taking and more adventurous – a lot more like the old stereotype of men.’
Bridger said: ‘Fleet drivers are more at risk for all sorts of reasons – high mileage, mind on other things and driving in unfamiliar areas. It’s a worrying trend.’
The trust also suggests that more women are taking the blame for their male partners’ driving offences if, for example, they need their cars for their jobs.