Brake comments on increase in drink-driving deaths

News from Brake
Wednesday 28 August 2019
 
The Department for Transport has today published statistics on drink drive crashes in Great Britain for 2017 [1]. This shows that there has been an estimated increase in the number of people killed in crashes where one driver was over the drink drive limit, reaching a final central estimate of 250, up from 230 in 2016, an increase of 9% and the highest level since 2009. The number of total crashes involving a drink driver is however estimated to have fallen by 6% to 5,700, down from 6,070 in 2016.
 
The new figures come after road safety charity, Brake, revealed that more than 5,000 drivers have been caught drink driving on two or more occasions in the past four years. The figures from the DVLA, obtained via a freedom of information, showed that in the past four years, there have been 5,181 repeat drink-drive offenders, including 4,879 who were caught twice, 275 drivers who were caught three times and one driver who was caught six times in the same period [2].
 
Commenting Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said:
 
“The fact that the number of people estimated to have been killed in drink drive related crashes has increased to the highest level since 2009 is incredibly concerning. Couple today’s figures with the shocking fact that thousands of drivers have been caught drink driving on two or more occasions over the past four years, it begs the question, how much longer must this continue before the Government acts?
 
“The current drink-driving limit gives a false impression that it is safe to drink and drive – this is a dangerous message and one that couldn’t be further from the truth. Research has shown even very small amounts of alcohol dramatically affect safe driving. The Government must act now to tackle the blight of drink driving by implementing a zero-tolerance limit, making clear to drivers that not a drop of alcohol is safe.”
 
Drivers who are caught driving, or attempting to drive, while above the legal limit or unfit through drink face an unlimited fine, receiving between 3 and 11 points on their licence, a driving ban of at least 1 year, and 6 months in prison, with the penalty decided by the magistrates who hear the case.
 
Road safety charity, Brake has expressed concern at the scale of repeat drink drive and are calling for the increased use of driving bans by the courts, in order to keep unsafe drivers off the road – the courts are able to impose a 3-year driving ban for ‘high risk offenders’ which includes those convicted of two drink driving offences within ten years.
 
The charity is also calling on the Government to accelerate the introduction of alcohol interlocks as part of drink-drive offender rehabilitation programmes in the UK. Alcohol interlocks are automatic control systems which are designed to prevent driving with excess alcohol by requiring the driver to blow into an in-car breathalyser before starting the ignition.
 
Continuing, Joshua Harris said:
 
“Driving over the alcohol limit can have devastating consequences, and it is troubling to see such levels of repeat offending. What is worse is that many of these drivers shouldn’t have been on the roads to offend again, if the full extent of the law had been used.
 
“Technology also has a role to play in tacking the menace of drink driving. The use of alcohol interlocks must seriously be considered to prevent convicted drink-drive offenders from getting behind the wheel over the limit.”
 
[ENDS]
 
Notes to editors:
 
Final estimates of casualties in accidents involving at least one driver or rider over the drink-drive limit in Great Britain for 2017 show that:
  • between 230 and 270 people were killed in drink-drive crashes, with a final central estimate of 250 fatalities
  • the increase in drink-drive fatalities since 2016 is not statistically significant, continuing a period of stability recorded since 2010
  • an estimated 8,600 people were killed or injured in drink-drive accidents, a reduction of 5% since 2016.
  • the total number of drink-drive accidents fell by 6% to 5,700 in 2017
[2] The FOI (FOIR7555) to the DVLA requested the number of drivers who have received the DR10 endorsement – for driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above limit – in the four-year period from 2015 to 2018 and broken down into drivers who have received multiple DR10 endorsements.

No. of Endorsements

No. of Drivers

1

150,716

2

4,879

3

275

4

24

5

2

6

1

Tags: Drink-Drive DfT