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Drink drive casualties increase by 25 per cent

The number of casualties caused by drink driving accidents has risen by 25 per cent, recent figures show.

Provisional estimates from the Department for Transport reveal 290 people were killed in drink drive-related accidents in Great Britain in 2012, compared with 230 deaths in 2011. Drink drive fatalities were found to represent 17 per cent of all road fatalities.

While the death toll has increased for 2012, the general trend is that fewer people are being killed as a result of drink-drive accidents. The 2011 figure was actually the lowest since detailed reporting began in 1979, with 230 people killed. Rougly the same number perished in 2010, but 2009, 2008 and 2007 saw 380, 400 and 410 people perish, respectively.

Back in 1979, 1,640 people were killed as a result of boozy driving.

There is a similar (slight) downward trend with the number of people seriously injured as a result of drink driving. 2012 saw 1,210 people injured – a reduction of five per cent from the 2011 figure of 1,270.

The majority of those killed in drink drive accidents were the drivers or riders who were over the legal limit, rather than the people they crashed into. Of the 290 drink drive fatalities in 2012, 210 of them involved a driver or rider over the legal alcohol limit. In fact, between 2007 and 2011, more than half of all fatal drink drive accidents involved one vehicle and no pedestrians.

Failing a roadside breath test requires the driver to register more than 35 micrograms of alcohol in their bloodstream for every 100 millilitres of breath.

The Department for Transport defines a drink drive accident as one that occurs on a public road in which someone is killed or injured and where at least one of the motor vehicle drivers or riders involved either refused to give a breath test specimen when requested to so by the police (other than when incapable of doing so for medical reasons), failed a roadside breathalyser test or died and was subsequently found to have more than 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

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