In 2018, the total number of casualties from drink driving rose to 8,700. That’s 1% higher than the figure recorded in 2017. This comes as provisional figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) suggest that 240 deaths from drink driving were recorded for 2018, the exact same figure as of ten years ago.

The number of people killed as a result of a driver over the limit has in fact not dropped since 2010. And The number of accidents where a driver was over the drink drive limit rose to 5,900 in 2018, (by 4%) compared with the previous year.

Calling on The Government to tackle this issue, IAM RoadSmart a leading road safety charity, is suggesting measures such as lowering the drink-drive limit in England and Wales in line with Scotland’s and also following the country’s lead by taking the vehicles of repeat offenders away.

Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart Neil Greig said: “There is no one simple answer to reducing these figures, but IAM RoadSmart believe we now need a much smarter package of measures from the government including a lower drink-drive limit to reinforce good behaviour, fast-track of evidential roadside testing machines to release police resources and tailored approaches to help drivers with alcohol problems.

“Once again progress on reducing the toll of death and injuries from drink-driving has stalled. Rehabilitation courses work and we think all those convicted of drink-driving should be sent on one automatically rather than having to opt in.

“More use of alcohol interlocks and extra penalties such as vehicle forfeiture, as used in Scotland, could all be part of a more joined-up approach to the problem.”

Breathalyser company AlcoSense have states that 42% of drivers involved in an accident were breathalysed by police. However, according to Home Office figures, just 320,988 drivers were tested at the roadside in 2018. That figure is less than half the 670,023 breathalysed in 2009 and also the lowest on record.

Hunter Abbott, Managing Director of AlcoSense commented: “This has declined steadily since 2008, when 55% of motorists were breathalysed after a collision,” he said. “Of those who actually were tested following an accident, more than 3,800 were over the limit – at 4.4%, that’s the highest failure rate for 10 years”.

“Casualties will not reduce until better enforcement is in place, combined with stricter limits and drink driving awareness campaigns.

“England and Wales have the highest drink drive limit in the developed world, far above the ‘point of intoxication’ when the cognitive effects of alcohol on a person are measurable.

“At the English/Welsh limit, despite not contravening the law, research shows you are 13 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than when sober.

“We call on the Government to increase the number of road traffic officers, in order to restore roadside breath testing to the levels of a decade ago.

“The Home Office should also stop ignoring robust scientific evidence and the advice of road safety experts - the drink drive limit should be reduced from its current dangerously high level.”