The number of people killed or seriously injured as a result of drink and drive accidents has risen for the first time since 2002, according to new figures from the Department for Transport. The number of fatal drink drive accidents also increased.
The statistics, which are provisional estimates for 2011, show that:
- Fatalities resulting from accidents involving drink drivers increased by 12% from 250 in 2010 to 280 in 2011;
- The number of seriously injured casualties rose by 3% from 1,250 to 1,290;
- There was an increase of 3% in the number of casualties sustaining slight injuries from drink drive accidents (up from 8,210 to 8,430);
- Overall, there was an increase of 3% in total casualties caused by drink and drive accidents (up from 9,700 to 9,990);
- The number of fatal drink and drive accidents increased to 260 in 2011 – up 18% on 2010;
- The number of accidents involving drink drivers rose by 2% from 6,630 to 6,730; and
- Overall, 15% of all road fatalities occurred as a result of a drink and drive accident.
Road safety organisations have expressed concern at the increase, which follows a drop in 2010, when drink drive fatalities were at their lowest in thirty years.
Simon Best, the chief executive of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, described the rise as “worrying”, and blamed it on the morning after effect.
“There needs to be more education on the effects of driving after drinking,” he said. “A heavy night drinking could leave you over the limit the morning after. The message to all drivers is don’t drink and drive.”
According to Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive at Brake, a zero tolerance approach is called for.
“We appeal to drivers to commit to never driving after drinking any amount – even one small drink,” she said. “We are calling on the government to take decisive action on this major killer, including a zero tolerance drink drive limit, to send out a clear message that it’s none for the road, and greater priority given to traffic policing, so we have more police carrying out life-saving enforcement.”