Provisional drink-driving figures released by the Department of Transport today estimate that 290 deaths were caused by drink drive accidents in 2012, 17% of all reported road fatalities. This marks a rise of 26% on the previous year, when 230 people were killed on Britain’s roads.

The report indicates that nearly three quarters of those deaths (around 210) involved a driver or rider above the legal alcohol limit. This continues a long-term upward trend in the proportion of drivers/riders involved in fatal drink drive accidents found to be over the legal limit. Moving five-year averages show that between 1982 and 1986, 53% of road users killed in drink drive accidents were drivers or riders found to be above the limit. This rose to 68% between 2007 and 2011.

The total number of casualties is also estimated to have increased from 9,920 in 2011 to 10,000 in 2012.

Katherine Brown, Director of Policy at IAS said:

These figures are an alarming reminder that drinking and driving cost lives, and we must continue to be vigilant about keeping the two activities completely separate from one another.

It is of great concern therefore to see the Government taking its foot off the pedal when it comes to drink drive legislation, with pubs popping up on motorways. We need further action to prioritise safety on our roads and protect the growing number of innocent victims who are killed by drink drivers each year.

Reported road casualties in Great Britain: Estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2012 (provisional) and 2011 (final) is available to view and download from the Department for Transport statistics page of the website.