Friday, 5 August 2011

Drink-drive deaths down 35%

New figures from the Department for Transport reveal there was a sharp fall in deaths from drink-drive accidents in 2010.

There were 250 fatalities in 2010, compared to a total of 380 deaths in 2009, reveals the department’s provisional report.

Serious injuries from drink-driving incidents fell 18 per cent to 1,230 and slight injuries were down 19 per cent at 8,220.

In 1979, when drink-drive casualty records began, there were as many as 1,640 deaths.

Transport minister Norman Baker said: ‘The provisional figures suggest the number of drink-drive deaths is now 83 per cent lower than 30 years ago – this is very welcome. However, we are determined to continue to take firm action against the small minority of drivers who still ignore the limit.’
Very good news that backs up Transport Secretary Philip Hammond’s decision earlier this year not to cut the drink-drive limit. Arguably, the vast majority of the casualty reductions that might have been achieved by cutting the limit fifteen or twenty years ago have already been realised by changes in behaviour. However, regrettably, some of this fall must be due to people simply choosing not to visit pubs at all, with the inevitable repercussions for the pub trade.


  1. I agree completely about the limit not being cut further. Most of the deaths attributable to alcohol are probably caused by diehard drink drivers who will ignore any limit, even a zero one. Then at the other extreme, there must be some accidents in which a driver had had a drink within the limit, but drink didn't cause the accident. I assume they'd still be included in the total.

  2. I understand there is a standard definition - "fatal accidents in which one or more drivers (including the deceased) tested positive for alcohol above the legal limit". So cases where the alcohol level was above zero, but below the legal limit, would not normally be included.

  3. Or what even of those drivers that were over the legal limit but were counted as the ones who caused the accident when they actually weren't?

    An interesting idea at least.

  4. I think my version was funnier. Paul makes a good point though.

  5. How strange, I haven't spotted the huge headlines about this.

  6. Dr. Brian Oblivion6 August 2011 at 19:32

    I think discussion of drink drive deaths in any context cedes the argument to the puritans. There will always be room for improvement. The numbers can wax and wane, but the one child who struggled to get out of the way of a binge drinker bent on destruction is too many for a properly motivated puritan.

    More often than not statistics are provided not as a friendly informational bit of trivia. The purpose is to advocate.

    There are probably equally cynical ways to make lemons out of lemonade that are uncomfortable for those who use numbers to restrict reasonable persuits of healthy relaxation. I don't know what they are but cleverer people might find ways to publicize the killjoy index and other negative impacts on quality of life and valued enclaves of social interaction. I for one am tired of the relentless chipping away at anything and everything that makes life worth living for meaningless gains that amount to little more than empty stats and targets. Enough!

    Then again perhaps Brussels will eventually look into improving the lot of those within the zone. You bet.


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