Drink-driving figures ‘very disappointing’ – RAC

Drink-driving figures ‘very disappointing’ – RAC
Between 220 and 250 people were killed in UK road accidents where at least one driver or rider was over the drink-drive limit – in just one year.

The Department for Transport’s (DfT) final estimates for traffic accidents involving illegal alcohol levels in 2016 make for “very disappointing” reading.

While the central estimate of 230 drink-drive deaths in 2016 is higher than the previous year’s total, the DfT insists the rise is not statistically significant, representing a continued “period of stability” in records since 2010.

READ MORE: Drink-drive limits: can I still drive?

RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams describes the figures as “very disappointing”.

“We are concerned that this may be the start of a trend to which the Government must be vigilant,” he says.

The DfT’s statistical release shows that an estimated 9,040 people were either killed or injured in drink-drive accidents in 2016. This is a rise of 7% on 2015 and the highest number since 2012.

Furthermore, the number of accidents where at least one driver or rider was over the alcohol limit rose by 6% to 6,070.

In total, around 4% of all reported road traffic accidents in 2016 involved at least one driver or rider over the legal alcohol limit.

As many as 79% of drink-drive accidents involved male drivers or riders over the limit, and 20% involved females. Both genders showed an increase in drink-drive accidents, and over half of all drink-drive casualties were aged 25-59.

IN OTHER NEWS: Drivers threatened with fines if they leave engines running

Commenting on the figures, the RAC’s Pete Williams said: “We need to understand whether it is the hardcore of habitual heavy drinkers or a growth in the number of drivers who admit that they occasionally drive knowing they may well be over the limit.

“Either way the message is the same – drink driving ruins lives and makes our roads more dangerous.”

But Mr Williams suggests that public opinion may well be open to a change in the law.

Pointing to an interesting finding in the RAC’s 2017 Report on Motoring, he says: “What is clear is that a majority of drivers (59%) would support a reduction in the legal blood-alcohol limit – similar to that in Scotland - where it has been cut from 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood to 50 milligrams – or lower.”

Copyright Press Association 2018. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.