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Drink driving death numbers still stalling

Drink-drive fatalities, casualties and accidents: Great Britain, 2017

Alcohol-related road casualties and deaths in Great Britain continue to plateau, as another year’s figures show no significant change in fatalities and small declines in injuries caused by drink driving.

The Department for Transport’s final estimates for 2017 show that there were 250 fatalities in drink-drive accidents where at least one driver or rider was over the alcohol limit, a small, not statistically significant increase on 2016, but still the highest estimated total since 2009. The number of fatal drink-drive accidents (220) stayed the same.

Small improvements occurred when injuries were included among the casualties / accidents figures: An estimated 8,600 people were killed or injured, a reduction of 5% from 9,040 in 2016, and the total number of accidents where at least one driver was over the alcohol limit fell by 6% to 5,700 in 2017.

However, while small improvements occurred in the total figures, it is important to note that there were small increases in the number of serious injuries resulting from drink driving. The number of serious injuries from drink-drive accidents rose by 11% (1,000 to 1,110), and from drink-drive casualties by 10% (1,250 and 1,380) between 2016 and 2017.

Responding to the figures, RAC Head of Policy Nicholas Lyes said: ‘These figures are disappointing and show that much more needs to be done to eradicate the scourge of drink-driving. The data shows that no discernible progress has been made for nine years in reducing the number of people killed in road traffic collisions where at least one driver was over the legal drink-drive limit.

‘The Government should be looking closely at all its options, even reviewing the drink-drive limit. But ultimately, it is absolutely vital that we have police enforcing laws and increasing roadside breathalyser testing so that law breakers know they will be caught.’