In Brief

Drink-driving deaths reach four-year high

Government report shows around 9,040 people were either killed or injured in 2016 as a result of drink-driving

The number of people killed while driving over the legal alcohol limit is at its highest since 2012.

A report by the Government’s Department of Transport reveals that 9,040 people in 2016 were either killed or injured as a result of an accident where a driver was over the alcohol limit - a 7% increase on the previous year.

Of those 9,040, the department estimates between 220 and 250 people died in accidents involving a drink-driver, a “significant rise” over the 170 alcohol-related deaths behind the wheel in 2015, Autocar reports. 

The figures also show that drink-driving was responsible for 13% of all deaths on Britain’s roads in 2016, while the total number of accidents caused by a driver over the legal limit rose by 6% to 6,070, the magazine says. 

According to the Daily Mail, 6.1% of all car accidents in Wales are caused by a drink-driving, followed by Scotland at 5.3% and England at 4.9%. 

Joshua Harris, the chief of road safety charity Brake said drink-driving laws gave motorists “false impressions” that driving under the influence of alcohol is safe, The Guardian reports. 

“How many more lives must be needlessly lost before the government acts on drink-driving?”, he added. “Today’s figures show that drink-driving is an increasing blight on British roads and yet the government sits on its hands and refuses to address the issue.”

Meanwhile, the head of breathalyser firm AlcoSense, Hunter Abbott, said: “Even with just one-eighth of the current English limit, you are 37% more likely to be involved in a fatal road accident than when sober.”

“At 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (0.35mg of alcohol per litre of breath), we have the highest drink-drive limit in the developed world. Lowering it could save many lives”, he said.

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