Drink-drive deaths ‘increasing’

Published: Thursday 12th February 2015 by The News Editor

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The number of people killed in drink-drive related road accidents is on the rise, according to Government estimates.

There were about 260 deaths in accidents in Britain in 2013 where at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

This compared with 230 in 2012, but the DfT said: “Due to uncertainty in the estimates, this rise (comparing 2013 with 2012) is not statistically significant.”

However, the AA said the figure was “incredibly disheartening”.

The DfT figures showed that the number of people seriously injured in drink-drive accidents fell 8% from 1,200 in 2012 to 1,100 in 2013.

The total number of casualties of all types in drink-drive accidents in 2013, at 8,290, was a 17% dip on 2012.

The DfT said that the killed or seriously injured figures, if confirmed when final statistics are published, would be the lowest on record.

The Dft figures also showed that in 2013/14, 5.9% of drivers admitted to driving when they thought they might be over the drink-drive limit. The department added that this figure was not statistically different from any year since 2010/11.

Of those who had driven when over the limit in 2013/14, almost two thirds had done so “once or twice”, with 8.1% of men, but only 3.5% of women, admitting to driving over the limit at least once.

The DfT figures also showed that those most likely to drink and drive were motorists aged 20-24.

In 2013/14, a total of 0.7% of drivers admitted to driving when they thought they might be under the influence of illegal drugs. This compared with a figure of 1.7% in 2010/11 but was not significantly different from the figures for 2011/12 and 2012/13, the DfT said.

Automobile Association president Edmund King said: “While we welcome the news that the number of people injured in drink-drive crashes has continued to fall in 2013, the total is still far, far too many.

“It is also incredibly disheartening that the number of people killed because of drink-driving has risen between 2012 and 2013.

“The lesson we need to take from these figures is that drink and drug-driving is still a menace on our roads.

“We need more traffic police on the roads to catch these rogue motorists and further education so more and more drivers realise they are playing a dangerous game by continuing to risk driving when they are over the limit.

“Hopefully the net will tighten further on drink and drug drivers when evidential roadside testing equipment becomes common-place.”

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “These estimates indicate a further reduction in the number of reported accidents and casualties caused by drink driving.

“In nine years, accidents, casualties and fatalities as a result of drink driving have all halved in the UK – which is huge progress.”

He added: “Drink-driving is the one topic that is still subject to regular high profile national and regional awareness-raising campaigns, and it appears hard-hitting messages from these are resonating with drivers.

“Is there a message for Government here? Long-term investment in campaigns to make our roads safer can have a tangible, positive impact. With figures released last week showing a broader increase in road casualties, especially those involving children, is there a place for more campaigns to help drive road casualty figures down still further?”

Published: Thursday 12th February 2015 by The News Editor

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