As a result of an upward trend in 2017 and no overall progress over the last seven years in reducing the number of casualties caused by drink-driving, the country’s largest independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, is calling for the government to introduce an emergency package of measures to tackle this issue.
Measures being advocated by IAM RoadSmart include:
- a further lowering of the drink-drive limit in England and Wales to match Scotland
- wider use of drink-drive rehab courses
- following the example of Scotland by seizing the vehicles of repeat offenders
Provisional estimates released 14th February by the Department of Transport for 2017 that between 240 and 330 people were killed in accidents in Great Britain where at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit, with a central estimate of 290 deaths. This represents about 16% of all deaths in reported road accidents in 2017.
The provisional estimate of fatalities for 2017 is the highest since 2009. An estimated 8,660 people were killed or injured when at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit.
Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart, said:
“Once again progress on reducing the toll of death and injuries from drink-driving has stalled with a worrying increase in 2017.
“There is no one simple answer to reducing these figures but IAM RoadSmart believes we now need an emergency 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 innovative approaches to help drivers with alcohol problems.
“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.”