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Drink-driving deaths reach highest level in four years

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The Department for Transport says some 230 people were killed in accidents involving drink-drivers in 2016

Drink-drive deaths in Great Britain have soared by 35 per cent to a four-year high, the Department for Transport revealed today.

Publishing its final estimates for road traffic collisions involving drink-driving in 2016 – the most recent year for which figures are available – the DfT estimates that 230 people were killed in accidents where at least one driver or rider was over the drink-drive limit, while 200 were estimated to have been killed in 2015.

It’s the highest figure since 2012, when 230 people were also estimated to have been killed through alcohol-related driving.

Overall casualties involving drink-drivers have risen less dramatically, but the seven per cent increase on 2015 still resulted in 9,040 people killed or injured across 6,070 incidents where at least one driver was over the legal limit.

Fatalities linked to drink-driving represented around 13 per cent of all deaths on UK roads in 2016, although the percentage figure for overall casualties was lower at five per cent.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at the road safety charity Brake, called for the government to crack down further on drink-driving.

He said: “How many more lives must be needlessly lost before the government acts on drink-driving? Today’s figures show that drink-driving is an increasing blight on British roads and yet the government sits on its hands and refuses to address the issue.

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“The government should put its money where its mouth is and align the law with the message from its ‘Think!’ campaign: ‘If you’re driving, it’s better to have none for the road.’ Only this zero-tolerance approach can create the change required to rid our roads of the menace of drink-driving.”

(PA)

The charity wants the government to lower the drink-drive limit to an effective level of zero. The current limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Scotland lowered the limit from 80mg to 50mg in 2014.

“Brake is calling for the government to implement an effective zero-tolerance drink-drive limit of 20mg per 100ml of blood, making clear to drivers that not a drop of alcohol is safe,” said Harris.

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