The number of car drivers who failed a breath test following a collision rose last year for the first time in a decade, new figures from the Government show.
Published on 29 September as part of the DfT’s annual report into road casualties, the figures show that 3,450 car drivers tested positive for drink driving, compared to 3,227 in 2014. This is also the highest number since 2012, when 3,655 car drivers tested positive.
The RAC says the figures are worrying and should be of concern to the Government.
In terms of percentages of drivers tested following a collision, 94,961 tests were administered, representing 50% of all car drivers involved in a collision (188,872).
This figure is the lowest in a decade and a 2% year-on-year fall; in 2014, 101,831 of the 195,576 car drivers involved in a collision were tested.
3.6% of breath tests administered in 2015 proved positive, the highest percentage since 2009, and a year-on-year increase of 0.4%.
The RAC says the figures echo the findings of its 2016 Report on Motoring, and has reaffirmed its call for a lower drink-drive limit in England and Wales.
Nick Lyes, RAC public affairs manager, said: “The latest figures on drivers failing drink-drive breath tests following an accident should be of concern to the Government, and worryingly they chime with the latest findings in the 2016 RAC Report on Motoring.
“Our research indicates a softening of attitudes among drivers when it comes to drink-driving: 6% of motorists admitted to driving over the limit over the last year, up from 3% in 2012, while the number of people who are sure they haven’t driven over the limit has dropped from 89% in 2012 to 80% in 2016.
“Concern about drivers who are over the limit has also fallen in recent years which may suggest the message over the seriousness of the consequences of drink-driving has started to become lost.
“Successive campaigns over a number of years have been effective in making drink-driving more socially unacceptable, but clearly a focus needs to remain on this so that accident rates as a result of driving under the influence do not now start rising on a more regular basis.
“We continue to believe the Government should look at the merits of a lower drink-drive limit in England and Wales, bringing it in line with Scotland and many other European countries. This data will undoubtedly add to the argument that the limit should be reviewed."