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 latest data available), 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. However, it is still 3% down on the 2016 data, and the number of drink-drive accidents has been hovering at around the 6,000 mark each year since 2013.
The reported figures for ‘drink-drive crashes’ cover any accident where at least one driver involved was over the legal limit for blood alcohol content, regardless of whether the drunk driver actually caused the accident.
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.”
The AA points out that, although women are involved in only a fifth of drink-drive crashes, they were disproportionately likely to be killed or injured.
“Statistics show that, although women are involved in 20% of drink-drive accidents, they make up 34% of casualties in these incidents. For men, it is 80% involvement in accidents but 66% in related casualties,” said Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA.
“Many of these women will be passengers and the AA has long warned parents to be wary of who might be driving cars their daughters, and sons for that matter, are passengers in.
“Overall, drink-drive road accidents are up 3% year on year but significantly lower than in 2016. They account for one in eight road deaths.
“Ironically, one of the few good things to come out of the coronavirus epidemic should be big drop in drink-drive road accidents and casualties. However, that shouldn’t be allowed to hide unsettling trends related to this type of incident.”
Additional reporting by Neil Lancefield, PA Media.