The UK’s leading independent road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has expressed disappointment in yet another year of no significant change in the levels of drink-driving in Britain, based on new Government statistics announced today (2 February).
IAM RoadSmart again called for England and Wales to follow Scotland’s lead and reduce drink-drive limits to the same level, in combination with an increase in high-profile and intelligence led policing.
The Department for Transport announced that provisional estimates for 2015 show 220 deaths in alcohol related crashes.
Some 1,380 people were killed or seriously injured when at least one driver was over the limit. This represents a statistically significant rise from 1,310 in 2014.
In addition, the total number of collisions and accidents where at least one driver was over the alcohol limit rose by 2% to 5,740 in 2015 (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/588591/illegal-alcohol-levels-second-provisional-2015.pdf).
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, stated that the continued lack of progress in reducing these figures had gone on for too long and was still too high – 13%, or around one in seven of all fatal crashes involved alcohol in 2015.
He added: “The increase in serious injury crashes and the overall increase in drink related crashes is worrying and suggests the problem is not reducing among a hard core of drivers willing to take the risk.
“The Government should introduce a lower limit in England and Wales. It won’t eradicate the problem completely but it will deliver a small but significant decrease in drink drive casualties and underline the clear message that driving and drinking don’t mix. The only way to catch those who ignore the limit is through intelligence led high profile policing so investment in roads policing must be protected.”
He continued: “Drivers who take a drink-drive rehabilitation course do appear to be less likely to reoffend. Currently a convicted drink-driver has to choose to take a course if offered. At IAM RoadSmart we believe a more effective option would be to make the course compulsory and force drivers to opt out only if they choose to.”