Call for more action on drink-driving as fatality figures stagnate

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Road safety charities and motoring groups have called on the government to do more to address drink-driving after the latest figures showed that drink-related fatalities have not fallen since 2010.

New government figures show that in 2014 ,240 people were killed in accidents where a driver was over the legal drink-drive limit. This means that 13 per cent of all road fatalities in 2014 involved at least one drink-driver - a proportion unchanged since 2010.

The statistics did show that there has been a notable reduction in the number of serious injuries as a result of drink-driving incidents, with a drop from 1,110 in 2013 to 1,070 in 2014 - a three per cent fall.

However, drivers’ groups and safety campaigners say that this is not enough and are calling for more action, including better education and a drop in the drink-drive limit, to address the “disappointing” stagnation in fatality figures.

RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “A three per cent reduction in seriously injured casualties from drink-drive accidents is a significant and positive move in the right direction, but the number of fatalities from these accidents has remained stubbornly static between 2010 and 2014.

“We need as a society to break through this plateau and once again consistently reduce needless, alcohol-related road deaths in the coming years. “That means both renewed efforts from law enforcement and changes in attitudes from motorists.

Drink-driving figures

Drink-driving figures

“Further consideration should also be given to adopting the new reduced Scottish legal alcohol limit for driving in the rest of the UK.”

Tim Shallcross, head of technical policy at IAM RoadSmart, said: “The government must get to grips with five years of disappointing figures now. “It needs to show stronger leadership to really drive down road deaths and serious injuries in the future.

“More action on drink driving, more on-road enforcement of driving standards and more publicity and education are urgently needed if we are to return to the gains made before 2010.”

The research showed that three quarters of those killed or seriously injured in drink-driving incidents were male and that the highest proportion of those killed while over the limit was among the 25-39 age group.

Road safety charity Brake said these figures are a cause for “serious concern” and urged the government to do more to improve awareness among male drivers in particular.

Lucy Amos, research advisor for Brake, said: “The statistics released today reveal a worrying level of stagnation in the number of people killed because of drink-driving, with the numbers remaining unchanged since the previous year.

“Drink-drive fatalities in the UK have now remained almost static since 2009 and it’s clear that decisive action is urgently needed to achieve further reductions in deaths and injuries.

“Through our work with bereaved families, we see the countless lives devastated when someone is killed by a drink driver, and it is for this reason that Brake is calling for a zero-tolerance drink-drive limit, the reintroduction of casualty reduction targets and greater prioritisation and resources for traffic policing to tackle the problem.”