Road Safety News
 

Overall deaths down, but drink drive deaths up 26%

Thursday 1st August 2013

While the overall number of road deaths reduced by 10% in the 12-months to March 2013, the number of people killed in drink drive collisions in 2012 increased by 26% - from 230 in 2011 to 290 in 2012.

The contrasting figures are revealed in two sets of statistics published by the DfT today (1/8/13).

As well as the fall in road deaths – from 1,870 to 1,680 - Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: Quarterly Provisional Estimates Q1 2013 shows that the number of people killed or seriously injured also fell to 23,660, a 6% year on year decrease.

Overall for year ending March 2013 there were 188,890 reported road casualties (slightly and seriously injured casualties, and fatalities), 7% fewer than for the year ending March 2012.

Total child casualties (ages 0-15yrs ) fell by 14% to 16,460, while the number killed or seriously injured was down 12% to 2,150.

A 23% drop in the number of pedal cycle casualties and 27% fall in motorcycle casualties during Q1 2013 have been put down to the much colder weather compared with Q1 2012.

In contrast to the significant increase in drink drive related fatalities in 2012, Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: Estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2012 (provisional) and 2011 (final) also reveals a 5% decrease in seriously injured drink drive casualties in 2012.

There were 220 fatal drink drive accidents in 2011, resulting in 230 deaths, the lowest number since detailed reporting began in 1979.

Among those killed in drink drive crashes, the majority (68%) were drivers and riders over the legal alcohol limit. The remaining 32% were other road users, involved in the accident but not necessarily over the legal limit themselves.

Road Safety GB has called for a reduction in the drink drive limit as recommended in the North Review which was published in 2010.

James Gibson, Road Safety GB press & PR officer, said: "While we mustn't see one year's figures as a trend, the provisional number of drink drive fatalities for 2012 is clearly disappointing.

"Road Safety GB continues to support the lowering of the legal alcohol limit and took an active part in the North Review process. A reduction in the limit would make many drivers rethink their current behaviour and encourage more motorists to abstain from alcohol completely if they're driving. This continues to be a missed opportunity to save more lives on our roads.

"Driving under the influence of alcohol is directly responsible for hundreds of deaths on our roads each year, yet the UK retains one of the most lenient alcohol limits in Europe. Families and friends of the victims of drunk drivers will find this very difficult to comprehend."

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, added: “The number of people killed or seriously injured by drink drivers is the real indicator of success in dealing with those who present the biggest danger on our roads.

“The IAM is concerned that despite continued police campaigns the message does not seem to be getting through to a minority of drivers.

“This increase shows the critical need for the DfT to reverse cuts in publicity funding and continue to ram home the message that drink driving kills.”

Click here to read either of the reports.

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I won't comment too much on this, as we have submitted our own opinion in more detail as a separate story to RSGB.

However, we think this news is a concern, and that not every angle has been exhausted re education etc.

From our experience a lot of young people DO know that drink driving is wrong, yet they still do it. So definitely agree with Hugh that psychologists and sociologists could help to try and change long term attitudes.

However, despite the best efforts of teachers and road safety professionals, the dangers of drink driving is not taught to every single 14-18 year old in every single school or college in England/Wales. In our opinion if you target this age group (and I mean all schools, not just a handful), you can make a difference and you can change young people's attitudes before they learn to drive.

ACPO figures show that more people have been caught over the limit following a collision, rising each year since 2011, in their summer drink drive campaigns. Looking at this with DfT statistics that show casualties and collisions from drink driving rose for first time in 10 years in 2011...there is definitely cause for concern.
Mike, from award winning http://dontbethatsomeone.co.uk (London)

Agree (8) | Disagree (0)
+8

I agree with Nick, be careful in interpreting the numbers. I suggest also being careful over claims that the increase results from cuts in road safety advertising budgets - as Hugh says, in effect, how many times is it necesssary to tell drivers the same thing before doing so ceases to have any further effect? One aspect not mentioned is the state of the economy - how much might be due to people drinking more to cheer themselves up in tough times?
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (4) | Disagree (10)
-6

I don’t think the problem is just a case of not having ‘rammed home the message’ enough - there can’t be many motorists by now (if any) who don’t know that certain activities whilst driving are illegal, but they still persist in doing it and at a deeper level, these anti-social attitudes are probably something for the psychologists and sociologists to find an answer for.

In the meantime, there comes a point when having exhausted all education options, more enforcement is the only answer, but realistically, there is a limit to how much the Police and automatic enforcement technology can address and perhaps the public at large – not just those involved in road safety - should be prepared to do more in reporting offenders, but would need reassurance that the Police would act upon it. Perhaps with dash-cams becoming more common in vehicles this may be a way forward.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (9) | Disagree (2)
+7

While I agree these figures are concerning, we must be careful not to draw too many conclusions from one year's data. The number of deaths in 2011 was 230, and in 2010 it was 240. But in 2009 and 2008 the figures were 380 and 400 respectively. The decreases in 2011 & 2010 look very large indeed, while the 2012 figure looks more in line with the kind of decrease one might expect, based on the 2009 & 2008 figures. Also, the 2012 figures are provisional - and last year the provisional figure was adjusted downwards by 50 in the final figures. Cause for concern, yes - but not sure at this stage we should see this as a change in trend.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

Agree (19) | Disagree (2)
+17

Is it time that ministers dusted off the North Report and re-read and acted upon the recommendations?
David Frost, Morning After Campaign

Agree (18) | Disagree (2)
+16