There has been a 3% annual rise in the number of drink-drive crashes on Britain’s roads, new figures show.
An estimated 5,890 accidents involved at least one driver who was over the alcohol limit in 2018, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.
This is up from 5,700 during the previous 12 months and means around one in 20 of all reported crashes in 2018 involved a drunk driver.
The estimated number of people killed in drink-drive crashes fell from 250 in 2017 to 240 in 2018 and is similar to levels seen since 2010.
Some 80% of drink-drive accidents in 2018 involved male drivers or riders over the legal limit.
A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “Drink-driving is truly unacceptable. It’s a senseless act that puts everyone at risk.
“These new statistics show that four in five drink-drivers who caused accidents were male. That’s why we’re focusing our work on young male drivers, with our award-winning Think! campaign highlighting that mates don’t let mates drink-drive.”
RAC head of policy Nicholas Lyes said: “These are disappointing figures which illustrate the need for much more to be done to curb the plague of drink-driving.
“The Government has indicated it is looking at the possibility of introducing alcolock technology to prevent reoffenders from getting behind the wheel, so we’d like to know what progress is being made here.
“This, together with more police on our roads conducting breathalyser tests, could go a long way to cutting drink-drive deaths in the future.”
Neil Greig, director of policy and research at road safety charity IAM RoadSmart, said: “Once again progress on reducing the toll of death and injuries from drink-driving has stalled.
“There is no one simple answer to reducing these figures, but we believe a much smarter package of measures is needed from the Government including a lower drink-drive limit to reinforce good behaviour, fast-track of evidential roadside testing machines to release police resources and tailored approaches to help drivers with alcohol problems.
“Rehabilitation courses work and we believe all those convicted of drink-driving should be sent on one automatically rather than having to opt in.”
The Scottish Government reduced the alcohol limit for drivers from 80 milligrammes (mg) per 100 millilitres of blood to 50mg in December 2014, but the legal level in the rest of the UK remains 80mg.