The Department for Transport (DfT) has recently published new figures on the number of drink driving fatalities in 2016 and they don’t make for good reading. There is real reason to be concerned as fatalities caused by drink driving have increased significantly in comparison to the previous year.

The figures published on 9th August by DfT show that between 220 and 250 people were killed in traffic accidents that involved at least one driver being over the legal limit to drive. This figure represents a 15% rise on the previous years’ figure.

Another seriously concerning figure came out of the report; an estimated 8,805 people were injured in drink drive collisions. This contributed to a 7% increase of people being either killed or injured on the previous year and, worse than that, the highest number since 2012.

Of course, there are some questions that need to be asked. Why is drink driving increasing? Are we doing enough to stop it? WHAT can we do to stop it?

It was announced in June this year that police will now be using roadside breathalyser technology to gain on-the-spot proof of drink driving. This instant test is a step in the right direction as it means offenders will not have extra time to sober up on the way to gather evidence back at the police station. Not only this, but it will also free up already stretched police time and resources. The government have vowed to pay £350,000 to bring this new mobile breathalyser to the market.

Drink driving starts with the driver

Roadside tests can only prevent a proportion of offences and not everyone will be caught. Brake’s campaign ‘Driving for zero’ suggests there should be a zero tolerance level across the UK when driving. This is backed by the government’s ‘THINK!’ campaign which states ‘if you’re driving, it’s better to have none for the road’ – ultimately the safest option due to there being so many variables involved in staying under the legal limit. Weight, age, gender, metabolism in addition to the type of alcohol being drunk, what food has been eaten and stress levels at the time all contribute.

Despite the noise around dissuading drink drivers, 2018’s record breaking summer means it is unlikely to decrease this year with many believing the volume of motorists driving home from the beer garden after a few pints of lager will have increased.

It has been recognised in Ireland that more needs to be done at grassroots level with 17 new questions related to drink driving added to the theory test. Drink driving is a significant road safety issue among younger drivers; many learner or new drivers may not know that they could still be over the legal limit to drive the day after a night of drinking. Instructors can certainly help to educate learners on subjects such as this, potentially saving lives.

The consequences

If found guilty of drink driving the driver will face:

  • A minimum of 12 months driving ban
  • A large fine
  • A criminal record

However, they are often not the only consequences. Many people lose their jobs, see an increase in their car insurance and experience the shame of being caught and having a criminal record which of course is on top of any physical harm they may have caused to others.

Getting car insurance after being convicted of drink driving is not impossible but it can be tough and it will be expensive – a reflection on just how seriously drink driving is taken. According to research a 50 year old driver caught drink driving could face a 121% increase in their insurance.

So what do you think? Is enough is being done to deter people from drink driving? Educating people on the affects it has not only on them but other people? Let us know what you think via any of our social media channels.