Drink drive fatalities rise for first time in a decade

12.00 | 17 August 2012 | | 10 comments

Fatalities resulting from drink drive collisions increased for the first time in 10 years – by 12% in 2011, compared with 2010 – according to a new Department for Transport (DfT) report.

Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: 2011 provisional estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels’, reveals that drink drive fatalities increased from 250 in 2010 to 280 in 2011; seriously injured casualties rose by 3% (from 1,250 to 1,290); and casualties sustaining slight injuries from drink drive collisions also increased by 3% (from 8,210 to 8,430).

Total casualties resulting from drink drive collisions rose by 3% (from 9,700 to 9,990); the number of fatal drink drive collisions rose by 18%; and overall drink drive collisions rose by 2% (from 6,630 to 6,730).

Fatalities resulting from drink drive collisions represented 15% of all road fatalities in 2011.

The proportion of drivers either failing or refusing to take a breath test following a road collision has remained relatively stable, at 3% between 2010 and 2011.

In 2011, 4% of male drivers failed or refused a breath test, while 2% of female drivers failed or refused.

For male drivers in 2011, 20 – 24 year olds were most likely to fail or refuse a breath test following a collision, at 7%. At 3% this was also the case with female drivers.

In 2011, 54% of drivers involved in road collisions were tested for breath-alcohol levels. This proportion has remained relatively stable across the last three years.


Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: "Any rise in drink drive casualties is worrying, with 15% of all road fatalities involving a drink driver there is clearly more to be done to reduce casualties.

“The problem is many crashes occur the morning after – there needs to be more education on the effects of driving after drinking. A heavy night drinking could leave you over the limit the morning after. The message to all drivers is don’t drink and drive.”


Click here to read the full DfT report.


Comment on this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Report a reader comment

Order by Latest first | Oldest first | Highest rated | Lowest rated

    My wonderful brother was killed by a drunk driver- the driver also killed the AA patrolman that was attending my brother’s car that had broken down – his girlfriend was sittting in the car and had to witness this. I miss him EVERY SINGLE DAY and it gets harder as I get older because of what we have both missed – him having children,seeing me have mine and having the loving relationshio we did. I will never get over it but I learn to live with it. ‘Dont be that someone’ is aimed at stopping this horrendous crime and ALL young people should be aware of what it does – and the possible consequence of getting in a car with someone who has been drinking. If I could make one person not do this then it would be worth it, the campaign that Mike has worked tirelessly at needs to get more funding and recognition– it WOULD SAVE LIVES.

    Helen Pilbeam- worcs
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Jan is absolutely right when she talks about the need for more roads policing officers, highly and frequently visible on our roads. It is no good running a summer campaign and a Christmas campaign in isolation, it needs such officers to be out in strength throughout the year. So having said that we can all forget about it because that will now never happen, the one agency able to provide the enforcement has withdrawn from roads policing to any really effective level!

    When I became a Road Safety Officer, people talked about the three ‘Es’ – education, engineering and enforcement. Well my team are still educating, my engineering colleagues are still engineering. Say no more!

    Alan Hale – South Gloucestershire Council Road Safety Team
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I broadly agree with Mike in relation to ages and attitudes. I strongly believe what we should be aiming to do is teach young people about alcohol’s influence on driving skills AND how long UNITS OF ALCOHOL take to be eradicated from the body as part of gaining their licence.

    Alan, Kent
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Without being sanctimonious about it, as a near tee-totaller I can comment impartially.

    Despite Mike’s response Dave is right to be cautious about statistics – for instance, the definition Mike quotes says nothing about BLAME – it is entirely possible that some drivers who were not at fault in accidents are nevertheless then found to be over the limit. In other words, some accidents primarily caused by sober drivers – including reckless, even drugged drivers – are classified as drink drive accidents because innocent victims were over the limit.

    As in the case of the “shock increase” in casualties in 2011, it’s less of a shock when seeing the full picture, that the increase follows years of welcome falls. Is it not inevitable that random chance will result in a reversal sooner or later? Chance of new trend? Too soon to tell.

    A friend in his 60s surprised me a year or so ago as we left a classic car meeting at a pub. He said quite casually that, after am pint or perhaps a little more, he knew he was over the limit but was perfectly safe to drive. On reflection I should have pointed out two things (a) that he could still be involved in someone else’s accident and breath-tested and (b) a reputation as a drink driver who has been involved in an accident when over the limit, is not a good thing to have.

    Idris Francis
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Thanks Mike, that’s clear. I’m not sure why they didn’t tell me that when I asked!

    BTW, I looked though your website and I congratulate you on producing a professional looking site and achieving backing and funding for your clearly focussed campaign.

    To minimise the danger caused by drink drive we need need people to know the dangers (where your work helps) and Police officers in Police cars to assess driving standards (for those who ignore the dangers or don’t believe the evidence).

    But at least the authorities are in agreement with your road safety campaign, they are not interested in mine! Good luck.

    Dave Finney – Slough
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    What do people expect. Firstly there are fewer Traffic Police patrolling our highways and byways so little chance of being caught unless you bring attention to yourself and have an accident. And secondly did we not have a very dry year last year? ie good warm weather, and what do people do in good weather? Yes, they drink and drive which brings us neatly back to the first point. I also agree with Dave Finney, never take statistics on face value.

    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Dave Finney – Your comment is totally incorrect. If you took time to read the full DfT report you would see, and I quote:

    “For the purposes of these drink drive statistics, a drink drive accident is defined as being an incident on a public road in which someone is killed or injured and where one or more of the motor vehicle drivers or riders involved either refused to give a breath test specimen when requested to do so by the police (other than when incapable of doing so for medical reasons), or one of the following:
    i) Failed a roadside breath test by registering over 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100
    millilitres of breath
    ii) Died and was subsequently found to have more than 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100
    millilitres of blood.

    Drink drive casualties are defined as all road users killed or injured in a drink drive accident.”

    Mike, from http://dontbethatsomeone.co.uk/ (london)
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    So when was the last time we saw any national tv campaigns? The Think! campaigns used to be the heavy weight players in campaigns and many LAs ran along with their support. Now that govt. funding has been cut, are we seeing the results? I am reminded of a recent US road safety article…the only way to see if road safety ETP works is to stop doing it.

    Gary. Coventry
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Be careful with these figures. The DfT may be defining “drink drive collisions” as those involving people under the influence of alcohol, not necessarily drivers.

    In other words, if a sober driver hits a drunk pedestrian, they may be calling that a “drink drive collision”.

    No amount of breath tests for drivers will prevent that.

    Dave Finney – Slough
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    This is awful, awful news. What’s even more awful is that the Department for Transport AND the Driving Standards Agency do not target 14-18 year olds in their drink drive campaigns.

    It’s proven TIME AND TIME AGAIN that driving attitudes are established BEFORE the age of driving, so why are the government not targeting 14-18 year olds.

    This is what my campaign, Don’t Be That Someone, does and this is why I’ve recently gained support of both ROSPA and PACTS.

    I’m fully aware budgets have been cut but the money available needs to be channelled to the correct places to make the most impact.

    Mike, from http://dontbethatsomeone.co.uk (London)
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.