Drink Drive Deaths At Eight Year High

Wed 28th Aug 2019

A worrying spike in the number of drink drive deaths comes at a time when roadside breath tests and road traffic officers are declining according to new research.

A Department for Transport publication says that there were between 230 and 270 road deaths caused by drink drivers in 2017, the highest figure since 2009, though the DfT has said that the rise is “not statistically significant.”

The DfT report said: “The prevalence in drink driving road deaths has fallen over time.

 

“In 1979, 26 per cent of road deaths occurred in accidents where at least one driver/rider was over the drink-drive limit.

 

“This has fallen to 16 per cent by 1988 and has varied around 15 per cent since then.”

Despite the Government not worrying road safety charities have raised their own concerns, at a time when more than 5,000 motorists have been caught drink-driving on two or more occasions in the past four years, according to road safety charity, Brake.

Meanwhile roadside breathalyser manufacturer AlcoSense has revealed that there were fewer breath tests conducted in 2017 in previous years.

Hunter Abbott, managing director at AlcoSense, said: “Police carried out just 325,000 roadside breath tests in England and Wales in 2017 – a fall of 15 per cent over the previous year and the lowest level since this data has been collected.

“The number of road traffic officers also decreased by 30 per cent between 2007 and 2017.

“There's a direct link between cuts in Police budgets and increased drink drive deaths.

“Together with the highest drink drive limit in the developed world, it's a lethal cocktail.'

He added: “Studies show you are 13 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident when at the English limit, compared with being sober – and five times more likely at the lower Scottish limit.

“A two-pronged strategy of better enforcement, plus a drink drive limit across the UK in line with the rest of Europe, could save many lives each year.”