Fatal and serious drink-drive casualties have reached their highest level since 2010, according to new figures from the Department for Transport (DfT).
The spike in drink-drive casualties coincides with a 17% drop in police numbers over the same time period, and a 55% reduction in the number of roadside breath tests.
The latest DfT figures show in 2017 there were 250 road users killed in drink-drive accidents, the highest number on record since 2010. Across the same time period, the number of serious drink-drive accidents rose from 1,240 to 1,380.
In 2010, police conducted 737,000 roadside tests, with 11% recorded as positive for alcohol. In 2017, just 326,000 roadside breath tests took place, with 16% of all drivers recording a positive sample.
Rob Walker, managing director at Vantage Leasing, said: “Drink-driving remains a serious issue for UK road safety.
“Since 2010, we’ve seen a 17% drop in full-time police numbers. At the same time, drink drive fatalities and serious accidents have gone up.
“While having more officers won’t solve the problem of drink-driving entirely, they will undoubtedly help reduce the issue.”
The lead up to Christmas will be a particularly busy time for police across the country; the latest figures show the month of December sees up to a 20% spike in drink-drive accidents.
GEM road safety office Neil Worth said: “Please do not think that just because you’re less likely to be stopped and breathalysed by the police that’s its acceptable to drive after drinking alcohol.
“It absolutely is not, and the figures show that more people are dying as a result of someone’s choice to drink drive than at any time in the past decade.”
The current drink-drive limit in England and Wales is 80mg/100ml, with Scotland having adopted a lower 50mg/100ml limit in 2014.
England and Wales have the highest drink-drive tolerances across Europe. Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia have the lowest limit, with a zero tolerance on drink-driving, while most other European countries have a limit of 50mg/100ml.
Regional drink-drive figures
Drivers in East Midlands were found most likely to be involved in an accident while under the influence of alcohol, with 2.8% of all accidents involving a driver under the influence. London records the lowest number of drink-drive accidents, with 1.4% of crashes in the capital involving a driver over the limit.
Vantage Leasing has constructed a drink-drive heatmap, showing drivers the number of drink-drive related accidents in their area.
To find out more, visit: https://vantage-leasing.com/blog/police-cuts-coincide-with-highest-drink-drive-spike-since-2010