Drink-drive deaths rise in 201728 Aug 2019

Increase not "statistically significant"

An estimated 250 people were killed in 2017 in crashes in Great Britain where at least one driver or rider was over the drink drive limit, according to official data just published.

This is up from an estimated 230 deaths in 2016.

The Department for Transport (DfT) says the change is not “statistically significant”.

The 250 deaths in 2017 account for 14% of all fatalities on the roads in that year.

According to the DfT:

“The prevalence of drink-driving in road deaths has fallen over time. In 1979, 26% of road deaths occurred in accidents where at least one driver/rider was over the drink-drive limit. This had fallen to 16% by 1988 and has varied around 15% since then.”

The Department says the total number of drink-drive accidents has fallen faster than the overall decline in crashes; down 71% since 1979 compared with 49%.

In almost four out of five (79%) accidents where someone is over the limit, that person is male.

Car occupants account for 84% of casualties in drink-drive crashes, compared to 59% of casualties in all reported collisions.

In July the government launched its Road Safety Statement which set out some of the measures it intends to introduce to cut road casualties further.

The statement said that drink-driving – together with the use of mobile phones, passenger distraction and speeding – will be one of four major road risks at the centre of an ongoing communications campaign.

It also promised to investigate whether the use of alcohol ignition interlocks – ‘alcolocks’ – by those convicted of drink-driving could help cut reoffending rates.

Last summer the government launched a competition to encourage manufacturers to make a road-side breath-testing kit that was of a suitable evidential standard that it could be used in court.



Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

020 7747 3445 | 07711 776448 | [email protected] | 020 7389 0601 (ISDN)

Notes to editors:

The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users. The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist.

The RAC Foundation is a registered charity, number 1002705.

All the Foundation’s work is available on its website: