The number of people killed in road accidents where the driver was over the drink drive limit has not dropped since 2010.
Provisional figures released by the Department for Transport estimate there were 240 such deaths in 2018, exactly the same rate of fatalities ten years ago.
The total number of casualties caused by drink driving increased to 8,700 in 2018, up 1% from 2017.
The number of accidents where a driver was over the alcohol limit rose by 4% to 5,900 in 2018, compared with the previous year.
“Only 42% of drivers involved in an accident in 2018 were breath-tested by Police”, comments Hunter Abbott, managing director of breathalyser firm AlcoSense.
“This has declined steadily since 2008, when 55% of motorists were breathalysed after a collision.
“Of those who actually were tested following an accident, more than 3,800 were over the limit – at 4.4%, that’s the highest failure rate for 10 years”.
The overall number of breath tests is also the lowest on record.
Just 320,988 drivers were tested by Police at the roadside in 2018, according to Home Office figures – less than half the 670,023 breathalysed in 2009.
“Casualties will not reduce until better enforcement is in place, combined with stricter limits and drink driving awareness campaigns”, adds Hunter Abbott from AlcoSense.
“England and Wales have the highest drink drive limit in the developed world, far above the ‘point of intoxication’ when the cognitive effects of alcohol on a person are measurable.
“At the English/Welsh limit, despite not contravening the law, research shows you are 13 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than when sober.
“We call on the Government to increase the number of road traffic officers, in order to restore roadside breath testing to the levels of a decade ago.
“The Home Office should also stop ignoring robust scientific evidence and the advice of road safety experts – the drink drive limit should be reduced from its current dangerously high level”.
Hunter Abbott is the founder of AlcoSense and a member of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS).
RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis said, “As these figures clearly show, the scourge of drink-drivers remains a serious problem in Great Britain.
“For nearly a decade there has been virtually no progress in reducing the number of fatalities involving a driver over the limit. A reduction in the drink-drive limit in England and Wales could be a better deterrent for some of these drivers, but there is also a clear need for more roads policing officers and stronger measures to tackle reoffending.
“On a more positive note, we know the Government is considering the use of alcolocks which would be fitted to vehicles to stop past offenders from getting behind the wheel when over the limit.”