New report shows drink drivers involved in one in 20 road accidents in the UK
Data for 2018 accidents has been released, with 5,900 incidents involving drivers over the alcohol limit.
Accidents related to drink driving increased by 200 cases in 2018 compared to the previous twelve months. Although they are provisional estimates, the data, released by the Department for Transport in February, suggests that one in twenty accidents in the UK now involves a drunk driver.
This represents a 4% increase year-on-year, with transport safety groups attributing the rise to the falling number of police officers. The figures also show that the overall number of road-side breath tests conducted by the police was the lowest annual level on record.
Only 320,988 drivers were tested by police at the roadside in 2018, according to Home Office figures. This is less than half of the 670,023 breathalysed in 2009.
The estimate for the number of people killed in 2018 in accidents related to drink driving is 240.
The report uses estimates for its findings. This is due to the fact the figures are based only on the road accidents which are reported to the police. DfT understand that a considerable proportion of non-fatal casualties are not known to the police. The final figure for 2018 will be published in August 2020.
Josh Harris, the director of campaigns for road safety charity Brake, said of the report:
With thousands of people still being killed and injured at the hands of drink-drivers every year, and little sign of this situation improving, decisive action needs to be taken.
We're calling on the Government to lower the limit and implement an effective zero-tolerance on drink-driving, making clear to drivers that when you're behind the wheel, not a drop of alcohol is safe.
Critics to this approach, however, argue that lowering the drink drive limit will not remedy the problem. They state that the existing level is sufficient, and that it is better policing of the law that will solve the issue.
President at the AA, Edmund King, has said the number of motorists to be found more than twice the legal limit is “worryingly high”. He also noted that many of these drivers are involved in accidents in the morning, when illegal amounts of alcohol is still in their system from the night before. He stated:
While the most common time drivers are tested is the evening, the number of drivers failing a test at 8am is staggering.
Clearly, more needs to be done to educate drivers that a good night's sleep won't sober you up.
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