UK drink-drive deaths hit highest level since 2009

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New figures show the highest drink-drive deaths since 2009 (PA)
New figures show the highest drink-drive deaths since 2009 (PA)

The number of drink-drive deaths has reached its highest level in a decade, according to provisional estimates.

Between 240 and 330 people were killed in crashes on Britain’s roads in 2017 where at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit, Department for Transport (DfT) figures show.

This represents about 16% of all road deaths.

That is the highest figure since 2009.

A driver was jailed last month after crashing his car after spending the whole day drinking, then hitting 22 cars (SWNS)
A driver was jailed last month after crashing his car after spending the whole day drinking, then hitting 22 cars (SWNS)

The ‘central estimate’ fatality figure of 290 is up from 230 during the previous year and is the most since 2009.

The DfT said the year-on-year increase is ‘not statistically significant’.

An estimated 8,660 people were killed or injured in drink-drive crashes, down 4% on the previous year.

Final drink-drive casualty figures for 2017 will be published in August.

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.

Drink-drive fatalities in Great Britain (PA Graphics)
Drink-drive fatalities in Great Britain (PA Graphics)

A DfT spokesman said: ‘Drink-driving is absolutely deplorable, and those who do it not only put their own lives at risk but other people’s too.

‘The Government is working with industry to develop new roadside breath tests, meaning drink-drivers do not have the chance to sober up before being tested, while the THINK! Mates Matter campaign had the biggest impact in young drivers’ attitudes to drink-driving in a decade.

‘Drink-driving is absolutely deplorable,’ said a transport spokesman
‘Drink-driving is absolutely deplorable,’ said a transport spokesman

‘We are also looking at how to make our roads safer as part of our upcoming road safety action plan.’

Last month, Robert Monks was jailed for five years after all day drinking then ploughing into 22 parked cars in a horror crash that killed his partner.

The incident happened in Cornwall.