4 February 2016: Today the Department for Transport released provisional estimates on the number of casualties arising from drink driving accidents in the UK in 2014, and the figures demonstrate that the decline in the number of drink driving deaths has stalled, with no reduction in the number of those killed since 2010.
The figures show that in 2014, 240 people died in drink driving accidents, with 8,220 injured.
Commenting on the figures, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said:
These figures show the significant harm done, both in terms of deaths and injuries, by drink driving in the UK.
It is worrying that the fall in the number of drink drive deaths has stalled, particularly when we know exactly what we need to do in order to reduce the number of fatalities. A large part of the solution is to reduce the drink driving limit from 80mg alcohol/100ml blood to 50mg/100ml, something which Scotland has already done. Every other country in Europe, except Malta, has a limit at this level or lower and by reducing the limit in this way, over a hundred lives would be saved each year, and many more injuries would be prevented. While a small fall in non-fatal alcohol-related injuries is welcome, we cannot be complacent when we know that a simple measure that would bring us into line with the rest of Europe would prevent many more.
A bill which has just progressed past second reading in the House of Lords aims to lower the drink drive limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to 50mg/100ml, and we have called for this bill to be supported.
Drinking and driving, no matter how much alcohol is consumed, can never be justified. These figures relate to those drivers who are found to be over the legal drink driving limit, but we know that, even when drivers are within the limits, their driving is still affected: even at low levels of alcohol consumption, steering problems, difficulty judging distances and delayed reaction times are common.
We call on the government to take notice of the figures released today, and to lower the drink drive limit to prevent further casualties.
Notes to editors
The Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA) is a group of more than 40 organisations including the Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of GPs, British Medical Association, Alcohol Concern and the Institute of Alcohol Studies. The AHA works together to:
- Highlight the rising levels of alcohol-related health harm
- Propose evidence-based solutions to reduce this harm
- Influence decision makers to take positive action to address the damage caused by alcohol misuse
For further information, please contact Matt Chorley, the AHA’s Policy and Communications Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0203 075 1726.
Statistics on drink driving
- The provisional figures released today show that in 2014 there were 240 deaths and 8,220 injuries due to drink driving accidents
- England, Wales and Northern Ireland have the highest drink drive limit in Europe with the exception of Malta
- Reducing the legal Blood Alcohol Content limit to 50mg alcohol/100ml blood would save over 100 lives a year
- Reducing the drink drive limit would not only have a greater impact on fatalities, but would save £300 million each year in costs to emergency services
- There is overwhelming public support for lowering the legal drink drive limit – our recent poll showed 77% of people favoured a 50mg limit
- At the current limit of 80mg, drivers are six times more likely to die in a road traffic accident than those who have not drunk alcohol
- Self-reported drink driving appears to be on the rise: a 2015 survey found one third of drivers who drink regularly drive whilst over the limit