Drink Drive Deaths: No Fall Since 2010

Thursday, February 13, 2020


The number of people killed in road accidents where the driver was over the drink drive limit has not dropped since 2010.


Provisional figures released by the Department for Transport today estimate there were 240 such deaths in 2018, exactly the same rate of fatalities ten years ago.


The number of accidents where a motorist was over the alcohol limit rose by 4% to 5,900 in 2018, compared with the previous year.  This means that one in 20 of all reported crashes involved a drunk driver. 


“Only 42% of drivers involved in an accident in 2018 were breath-tested by Police”, comments Hunter Abbott, managing director of breathalyser firm AlcoSense. 


“This has declined steadily since 2008, when 55% of motorists were breathalysed after a collision.


“Of those who actually were tested following an accident, more than 3,800 were over the limit – at 4.4%, that’s the highest failure rate for 10 years”.


The overall number of breath tests is also the lowest on record.


Just 320,988 drivers were tested by Police at the roadside in 2018, according to Home Office figures - less than half the 670,023 breathalysed in 2009.


“Casualties will not reduce until better enforcement is in place, combined with stricter limits and drink driving awareness campaigns”, adds Mr Abbott from AlcoSense Laboratories.


“England and Wales have the highest drink drive limit in the developed world, far above the ‘point of intoxication’ when the cognitive effects of alcohol on a person are measurable.


“At the English/Welsh limit, despite not contravening the law, research shows you are 13 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than when sober.


“We call on the Government to increase the number of road traffic officers, in order to restore roadside breath testing to the levels of a decade ago. 


“The Home Office should also stop ignoring robust scientific evidence and the advice of road safety experts - the drink drive limit should be reduced from its current dangerously high level”.


Hunter Abbott is the founder of AlcoSense and a member of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS).

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