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Worrying Rise In Drink Driving Deaths Reported

By raccars Published

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Department for Transport statistics have been released, showing that in 2013 there were 240 deaths related to drink driving. Of most concern is the fact that this is the first rise in drink drive deaths since 2006.

After 230 drink driving deaths in 2012, 2013's figures show an extra ten fatalities. Overall, 14% of road deaths in 2013 were caused by drink driving, while so far, estimates for this year point to another rise and drink drive deaths of 240-340.

After years of encouraging falls in drink drive deaths, attributed to vigorous anti-drink driving campaigns in the UK, figures have plateaued since 2010, when government road casualty reduction targets were axed, hovering between 210 and 240. Statistics show that while the number of fatalities attributed to drink drive incidents has increased, serious injuries caused by the same are at record lows - 1,100 in 2013, 8% lower than in 2012. The overall number of accidents attributed to drink drivers was also down by 13% in 2013, to a record low of 5,690.

Analysis of the data supplied by the DfT shows a number of distinct patterns. Seventy four per cent of the 1,340 people killed or seriously injured in drink driving incidents in 2013 were male. Also notable was the prevalence of younger drivers involved in incidents - 17 to 24 year old drunk drivers were involved in more than a quarter of the total number of deaths and serious injuries.

The results bring into question the effectiveness of the UK's current drink driving policy. Road safety charity, Brake, has been pushing for a zero tolerance policy and additional traffic policing, to tackle the issue. It feels that the government's policy of retaining the highest legal blood alcohol level for drivers in Europe is not supported by statistics.

Scotland's reduction of the legal blood alcohol level last year, from the 80mg currently in place in England and Wales to the 50mg used by most of Europe, has been very effective in reducing the number of drink driving convictions. Early reports suggest that drink driving is down by about 25% in Scotland since the law changed.

The Police Federation of England and Wales has been vocal in its support of reducing the drink driving limit. But the Department for Transport believes it is too soon to conclude that the example set by Scotland has been effective or that road deaths would be reduced as a direct consequence of lowering the legal blood alcohol limit.

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