Drink driving deaths at highest level for five years

The UK limit is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood

Drink driving deaths at a five-year high

ROAD-SAFETY campaigners have called for a new crackdown on drink driving after government figures indicated that the number of road deaths last year involving a driver over the limit rose to the highest level since 2009.

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The provisional statistics, issued last week by the Department for Transport, estimate that between 240 and 340 people were killed in drink drive accidents in Britain last year. It takes about 18 months for final drink drive figures to be published because of the time needed to investigate the accidents fully.

“The official estimate for 2013 was 240 deaths,” said Brake, a road-safety charity. “That is the bottom estimate for 2014, so we know that it’s going to be at least as many and probably more.”

The numbers may have been affected by the lowering of the drink drive limit in Scotland, from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg, but Brake said the change, for the last 25 days of last year, would have little impact on the figures. The level for the rest of the UK remains at 80mg. Brake has called for this to be lowered to 20mg — in effect a zero-tolerance limit.

Earlier this summer the DfT announced an overall rise in the number of people killed on the roads last year, from 1,713 in 2013 to 1,775 in 2014. It coincided with a drop in the number of dedicated traffic officers from 5,635 in March 2010 to 4,356 by the end of March 2014.