Drink-driving deaths rise by 20 per cent - the biggest increase since 2000

A PSNI Road Policing officer holds an operational breathalyser during a random drink driving checkpoint in Belfast.

Department for Transport statistics suggest that the number of people killed in drink-driving incidents on Britain's roads is on the rise. The latest figures show that around 240 motorists were killed in incidents involving motorists over the legal alcohol limit in 2016 – up from 200 in 2015.

This equates to a 20 per cent rise in casualties – the most significant increase in drink-driving related deaths since 2000.

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The DfT said that the rise in deaths was 'statistically significant' although it pointed out that the overall figure was still half that of a decade ago.

A greater number of people were injured than killed – 9,050 people, up from 8,470 the previous year. That's a rise of seven per cent, indicating over 500 more people killed or injured in 2016 than 2015.

The DfT points out that this is almost 40 per cent lower than the numbers seen in 2005, however.

With just under 1,800 people losing their lives on British roads in 2016, about one in seven road casualties involve drink drivers each year.

The DfT says that the current figure of 240 casualties was only an estimation. However, it says it is "95 per cent certain" that the true number is between 200 and 280 casualties.

"At best, progress in reducing fatal crashes as a result of people drinking and driving continues to stall, and at worse there has been an increase for the first time since 2009 – which would be the biggest year-on-year rise in such crashes since 2000," said RAC road safety spokesman, Pete Williams.

"We are under no illusion about the scale of the challenge when it comes to ending the menace of drink-drivers on the UK's roads – not least in addressing the problem of persistent offenders."

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