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Drink drive casualties down in 2013

Friday 13th February 2015

Provisional drink drive casualty stats for 2013 published yesterday (12 Feb) by the DfT paint a generally positive picture with seriously injured and KSIs both at an all time low.

While the figures show a potential increase in drink drive deaths - to an estimated 260 in 2013 from a confirmed 230 in 2012 - due to the way the figure has been calculated* the DfT describes this increase as “not statistically significant”.

The figures show that around 15% of all deaths in reported road traffic collisions involved at least one driver over the limit.

The number of seriously injured drink drive casualties decreased by 8%, from 1,200 in 2012 to 1,100 in 2013 - an all time low.

The total number of casualties of all types in drink drive accidents (8,290)  was down 17% on the 2012 figure.

Compared with the 2005-2009 average, drink-drive related deaths are down by 43%, serious injuries down by 38%, KSIs down by 39%, all casualties down by 40% and drink drive collisions down by 37%.

Detailed reporting on drink drive collisions and casualties began in 1979 at which time there were around 1,640 drink drive fatalities in a total of 6,352 road deaths. The figures for 2012 and 2013 are more than six times lower than in 1979.

In the same time frame overall road deaths have fallen by 73% while drink drive deaths are down by 84%. Rather than accounting for a quarter of all road deaths, as they did in 1979, drink drive deaths now account for around 15% of all road fatalities.

The DfT report also includes figures for ‘self-reported drink and drug driving’ which show that 5.9% of drivers admitted to driving when they thought that they might have been over the limit, while less than 1% admitted to driving when they thought that they might be under the influence of illegal drugs.

*The fatalities figure is based on coroners’ and procurators’ fiscal reports for only around third of the drivers who were killed in road traffic accidents in 2013. At a 95% confidence interval, the final figure could be between 230 and 290 fatalities. Therefore the final figure, which will be based on reports on around 70% of drivers who died in road accidents, may be substantially different from this provisional estimate.

 

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As I have previously commented, these types of report should always include a graph of the key measures so that longer term trends are clearly evident. Instead, we get a "cherry picked" mix of percentages, values and fractions (a quarter), relating to different time periods, and what sounds like spin.

Drink-drive serious injuries down by 8% contributes to a generally positive picture, while a 13% increase in drink-drive deaths is "not statistically significant" (the foot note states that it COULD be double that!).
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Researcher, St Albans

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