Authorities say action is needed as drink-drive figures stall
The latest Department for Transport (DfT) figures for the number of people killed as a result of drink driving have shown there has been little change in recent years, Fleet News reports.
The figures have led Brake and IAM RoadSmart to call on the government to take urgent action to tackle the issue and drive figures back down.
Since 2010, official figures for the number of deaths involving a drink driver have remained at 240. The provisional estimate for 2015 currently stands at between 200 and 290.
Drivers under the influence accounted for 15% of road deaths in 2013 and 13% in 2014, leading the DfT to claim the consistency in drink-drive fatalities is a sign of stability in their measures to reduce drink driving since 2010.
However, road safety charity Brake argue the removal of road casualty reduction targets in 2010 has stagnated the figures and the government’s approach. The charity is urging them to implement a zero-tolerance policy to drink driving.
“Drink drive fatalities in the UK have now remained almost static since 2009 and it’s clear that decisive action is urgently needed to achieve further reductions in deaths and injuries,” said research advisor for Brake Lucy Amos.
As well as the introduction of a zero-tolerance drink drive limit, Brake are calling for the reintroduction of casualty reduction targets and greater prioritisation and resources for traffic policing.
Male road users were found to be over-represented in the government figures. In 2014, 70% of drink drive deaths and 77% of those killed and seriously injured were male.
Brake sees this figure as a serious concern and is urging the government to implement measures to increase awareness and compliance among male drivers in particular.
Whilst the age group particularly at risk of dying in a drink drive crash in 2013 was the youngest age group, between 17 and 25, in 2014 it was those aged between 25 and 39.
Of all the drink drive deaths that occurred in 2014, a quarter was as a result of 25 to 39-year-olds driving whilst over the legal limit.
The road safety charity said that if progress is to be made in road safety then this demographic shift must be addressed.
The decline in 17 to 24-year-old drivers dying as a result of drink driving, which dropped from 25% in 2013 to 21% in 2014, was welcomed by the charity.
There was another decrease, with the number of people seriously injured by a drink drive collision falling for the third consecutive year. The reduction in the number of overall drink drive casualties reached its lowest level on record, with 5,620.
However, the figures showed there had been no reduction in total road deaths and there had been 2% increase in serious casualties in the past 12 months to 31 March 2013.
Head of technical policy at IAM RoadSmart, Tim Shallcross, commented that the government “needs to show stronger leadership” in order to reduce road deaths and serious injuries in the future.