UK drink-drive deaths on the increase for first time in years
In 2012, 290 people were killed in drink-drive incidents in Great Britain, an increase of about a quarter on the previous year. A stark contrast to 2011 when deaths were at the lowest since records began in 1979.
AA president Edmund King told the Daily Mail: "Drink-driving is a menace to everyone on our roads and it is very disappointing to see that the estimated number of fatalities as a result of drunk drivers has increased. Behind every statistic is a personal tragedy that could have been avoided for these 290 people.
"We need to keep reinforcing the message that drinking and driving don't mix.
"All drivers need to take heed of this and ensure that if they are going to be driving, that they adopt a zero-tolerance approach and don't drink anything alcoholic at all."
The news has sparked anger among certain groups that are calling for the government to lower the drink-drive limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg per 100ml.
Andrew Misell, director of Alcohol Concern Cymru, a Welsh charity, told Wales Online: "These new figures show that driving under the influence of alcohol is an issue that has not gone away. Unfortunately, there seems to be a common belief, to some extent encouraged by the drinks industry, that 'drunk drivers' are a fringe group beyond the pale of normal social drinking.
"In reality, we as a drinking society need to have an open and honest debate about how much, when and why we drink, and about how this impacts on our lives."
Transport Minister Norman Baker said the figures were provisional, but accepted: "Any road death is one too many and we are absolutely not complacent when it comes to road safety. We are very concerned about it. We take it very seriously."