The latest government stats show that an estimated 240 people were killed in 2018, where at least one person involved in the accident was over the legal blood alcohol level. Although the figures are guesswork they show that drink-drive fatalities have crept up since 2015, and in total this cause accounts for about 13% of all fatal accidents on UK roads.
The government stats offer absolutely no analysis of the reasons who the main offenders are by demographic groups, why some people continue to drink and drive even after being convicted, nor does it offer any ideas for getting the casualty levels down in the long term. That aspect has been left to road safety campaign groups.
Following the publication of new government data on drink-drive casualties in Great Britain, 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 re-offending. 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.”
Late last year shipping company K-LINE announced it was installing an alcohol breath detector in its smartphone app, so that crew members could be breath tested whilst on duty. It’s an interesting idea, although the thought occurs that a crew member could speak outside the windswept deck, using the speaker, so their breath wouldn’t be anywhere near the phone sensor.
Meanwhile Volvo has been a pioneer of alco-lock ignition systems for HGVs and cars, with other manufacturers also picking up on the tech. The trouble with existing breath testers is that you have to blow into a gadget mounted on the dashboard. It is of course possible that someone else could do that for you. Also, many drivers who share a car with their partner or family might not want to blow on the same plastic mouthpiece.