Provisional estimates show there were 240 drink drive related deaths in Great Britain during 2016, a year-on-year rise of 20%.
The figures, published today (8 Feb), show that between 200 and 280 people were killed in collisions where at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit – leading the DfT to produce a central estimate of 240 deaths.
The DfT describes the provisional rise from 200 deaths in 2015 as ‘statistically significant’, although it notes that the estimate for 2016 is ‘very similar’ to the figures between 2010 and 2014.
Around 13% of all road deaths in 2016 were drink drive related, unchanged from the previous year.
The number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) in drink drive collisions rose by 9% to 1,500 – although the DfT says these figures should be interpreted with caution due to a large number of police forces changing their severity reporting systems.
The total number of drink drive related casualties climbed to its highest level since 2012 – the estimate of 9,050 reflecting a rise of 7% from 2015 (8,470). The number of collisions also rose – up 6% to 6,080 in 2016.
The RAC has described the figures as disturbing, and has called on the Government to make it crystal clear to drink-drive offenders that ‘enough is enough’.
Pete Williams, RAC road safety spokesman, said: “While a final figure won’t be available for a number of months, the picture that emerges from the latest drink-drive statistics is a disturbing one.
“At best, progress in reducing fatal crashes as a result of people drinking and driving continues to stall, and at worse there has been an increase for the first time since 2009 – which would be the biggest year-on-year rise in such crashes since 2000.
“We are under no illusion about the scale of the challenge when it comes to ending the menace of drink-drivers on the UK’s roads – not least in addressing the problem of persistent offenders. For these hard core offenders, drink-driving it is likely to be a symptom of other problems in their lives which are neither simple or cheap to fix.
“But despite this, we today call on the Government to make it crystal clear to drink-drive offenders that enough is enough.”
IAM RoadSmart has urged police and the Government to act now to reverse the ‘serious upswing’.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Today’s figures are hugely disappointing. We need more targeted policing and a lot more driver education regarding drinking and driving. Targeted policing in known areas would send a clear message to those still prepared to have a drink and drive.
“We suggest a two-pronged attack: firstly, continued education and a lower limit for the law abiding majority who might stray or who don’t yet understand the risk, and secondly, getting the police to be more up front about what targeted enforcement actually means as they seek to catch those selfish enough to ignore the current limit.”
DfT publishes rolling casualty figures
Separate figures also published by the DfT today show that there were 1,720 road deaths in the year ending September 2017.
Although this figure represents a 4% fall from the year ending September 2016, the DfT says it is not statistically significant.
A total of 27,010 people were killed of seriously injured, although again, this should not be compared to previous years due to changes in the reporting of the severity of injuries.
There were 174,510 casualties of all severities – a statistically significant year-on-year fall of 5%.