Drunk driving deaths are declining, but not keeping up with the decline in accidents

The number of people killed in drunk drivingAccording to the latest official data, in 2020 the number of accidents related to air transport has decreased slightly.

However, drunk driving deaths accounted for a large proportion of all traffic accidents as the lockdown affected the number of crashes and casualties.

Preliminary figures from the Department of Transportation show that in 2020, about 220 people died in incidents where at least one driver exceeded the drunk driving limit.

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This is compared to 230V 2019 and is the lowest since 2015, but the impact of the lockdown on traffic and total crashes means that the percentage of deaths from drunk driving was higher than the previous year.

The total number of drunk driving fatalities has dropped as the country spent part of 2020 in lockdown.

While drunk driving deaths were down 4%, overall road deaths were down 17% as traffic dropped significantly for most of the year and drunk driving deaths accounted for more than 15% of all road traffic deaths. -traffic accidents, up from 13% last year. 2019.

The latest data has led to calls to rethink the drink-driving limit, as well as more breath checks on the roads.

Overall, crashes involving at least one driver under the influence of alcohol fell by 14% to 4,620 in 2020, the lowest recorded number of drunk driving crashes, and the total number of deaths or serious injuries also reached new low, falling 22% to 1500 since 2019.

Recording preliminary data from police, coroners and fiscal prosecutors, the DfT report notes: “It is important to note that the number of reported drunk driving accidents and fatalities associated with them is likely to have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. in 2020 and national restrictions introduced since March 2020 have resulted in reduced traffic and accidents. The decrease in drunk driving accidents between 2019 and 2020 is broadly in line with the decrease in total road traffic accidents over the same period.”

However, road safety charity Brake said the numbers showed a need for a “culture change” around drunk driving.

Jason Wakeford, campaign manager at Brake, said: “Thousands of people are killed and injured every year at the hands of drunk drivers.

“A recent analysis by Brake shows that between 2012 and 2019 there were 46,860 drunk driving accidents, resulting in 1,860 deaths and 13,340 serious injuries.

“We need to change the culture of drunk driving, starting with a greater awareness that any amount of alcohol can be fatal.

“While measures such as continued effective police enforcement and public awareness campaigns, including THINK!, help reduce deaths and injuries, the government should follow the Scottish example and reduce the statutory limit. Such a move would make it clear to drivers that any amount of alcohol while driving is unsafe.”

Hunter Abbott, a member of the Transportation Safety Parliamentary Advisory Board and founder of breathalyzer company AlcoSense, expressed concern about the reduction in the number of breath tests conducted by police at the scene of crashes.

He said: “This apparent decline in drunk driving casualties needs to be seen in the context of the Covid lockdown.

“According to separate data from DfT, in 2020 traffic decreased by a quarter as a whole, and in April the number of working days fell to 35% compared to pre-pandemic levels. Perhaps as a result, the police conducted the fewest breath tests on record.

“However, studies show a significant increase in alcohol consumption at home during lockdown, which increases the likelihood of drunk driving “the next morning.”

“The police should also check more drivers who have been involved in an accident. In 2020, this figure decreased to 39% compared to 54% in 2010. Of those who did pass post-impact testing, 3,278 exceeded the 5.6% limit, the highest failure rate in 10 years.”

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