Drink-drive deaths fall to new low

New Government figures have shown the number of drink-drive deaths fell to an all-time low in 2009.

There were 380 deaths due to drink-driving last year, down 5% from the previous year, according to the data.

The number of serious injuries also fell 9% to 1,480 over the twelve month period.

Slight injuries sustained in drink-driving incidents fell to 10,130, around 8% lower than figures for 2008.

The statistics, which were based on the number of road accidents reported to police involving drinking and driving, showed there were 8,050 accidents in total related to alcohol - a 7% fall compared with the previous year.

As well as releasing information on the number of drink-drive related incidents, the Government also revealed figures for all types of accidents in the first three months of this year.

There were 420 deaths in the January-March 2010 period - 24% fewer than in the same period last year.

Adding the deaths to the serious injuries, the total number killed or seriously injured in the first three months of this year was down 13% at 5,290.

Slight injuries fell 4% to 42,630, while the total casualty figure (deaths, serious injuries and slight injuries) was down 5% at 47,290.

There were falls in casualty rates in all the different categories of road user in the first three months of this year.

The biggest fall was in the number of car users killed or seriously injured, which was down 15% compared with January-March 2009.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "The dramatic fall in total fatalities is extremely welcome. Death and injury on our roads do not just cause physical and emotional damage to victims and their families, but they also cost the country dear in economic terms.

"The Government must make sure that in an era of cuts it encourages councils to keep spending on road safety measures so these figures can be at least maintained and hopefully improved on."

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