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Drink-drive death numbers fall

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Figures released from the Department for Transport have revealed that the amount of deaths from drink-driving incidents in 2010 fell by 35%.

A provisional report released by the department revealed that the amount of fatalities fell from 380 in 2009, to 250 in 2010.

Serious injuries as an occurrence of drink-driving incidents also fell by 18%, with a reported 1230 cases in 2010, and slight injuries fell by 19% with 8220 cases last year.

Records for drink-driving casualties began way back in 1979, and in that year there were as many as 1640 reported deaths due to drink-driving.

Transport minister Norman Baker said: ‘The provisional figures suggest the number of drink-drive deaths is now 83% 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.’

2006 saw a rise in drink-driving deaths, and with the following years only seeing a slight decrease in percentage, there were initial fears that the message may not be getting through to motorists.

In a stark contrast however, police earlier reported how they are disappointed that they have seen an increase in the number of people found driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

119 motorists were caught in this Summer’s crack-down by police driving under the influence of alcohol, up 19 in the same period last year.

One incident included a 17-year-old stopped on the day he had passed his test.

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: ‘These drink-drive figures are to be welcomed but sit at odds with the revelation earlier this week that police caught more drink-drivers – especially young motorists – in the summer 2011 crackdown than in 2010.’

The Department for Transport also published provisional figures for all road casualties in the first quarter of the year.

The figures showed 440 people were killed in reported accidents – 6% more than in the same period last year, when severe weather kept many people off the roads.

The beginning quarter of this year saw much milder weather than that of the same period the year before, which meant cyclist casualties rose 26% and motorcyclist casualties increased 16%. Pedestrian casualties were up 4% but car-occupant casualties fell 7%.

By Ben Malkin  

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