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DfT figures highlight increase in drink-related deaths

New figures published by the Department for Transport (DfT) have highlighted an increase in the number of alcohol and drink-related deaths on the UK’s roads.

Provisional data published by the DfT for the whole of 2012 showed 290 people were killed on the UK’s roads in drink-related deaths – an increase of 25 per cent on the previous year. However, the number of reported serious injuries fell by five per cent to 1,200.

In response, both the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and road safety charity Brake have stated more now needs to be done to get the message across to all road users that alcohol and driving do not mix.

Indeed, IAM director of policy and research Neil Greig said the following in regards to drink-related deaths: “The number of people killed or seriously injured by drink drivers is the real indicator of success in dealing with those who present the biggest danger on our roads.

“The IAM is concerned that despite continued police campaigns the message does not seem to be getting through to a minority of drivers.”

It appears many motorists need to be reminded of the dangers of drinking and driving, but with ongoing cuts in funding for road safety for many local authorities, this is becoming an increasingly difficult prospect.

Drivers need to be aware that the legal limit for drinking is 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, although even small amounts of alcohol have been shown to hinder motorist’s reactions and increase their risks of being involved in an accident.

Indeed, studies have shown that individuals with between 20 to 50 mg of alcohol in their blood stream are up to three times more likely to have a crash than those who are sober.

JulieTownsend, deputy chief executive at Brake, noted: “Everyone wants to get out and enjoy the good weather while it lasts but that shouldn’t mean putting your life and the lives of others at risk.”

As a result, Brake is encouraging all vehicle owners to pledge never to touch a drop of alcohol if they plan to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Ms Townsend added the government should also take a zero tolerance approach to the problem, with stronger deterrents for those who offend in this manner.

Offering specialist cover for individuals found guilty of drinking and driving, GSI Insurance Services (Southern) Ltd could help anyone in this situation to receive lower premiums than they might expect.

The insurance provider operates a number of dedicated schemes for drink-drivers, meaning once they get their licence back they may not be hit by a significant increase in costs. Meanwhile, those individuals who complete drink-driving rehabilitation courses could see further reductions in their drink-driving insurance premiums.

That said, the best way to keep insurance costs to a minimum is to avoid drinking and driving altogether.

While the latest data may prove a shock to some readers, the IAM highlighted the significant improvements in tackling this important issue over recent years, with the number of people killed in alcohol-related accidents having fallen six-fold from figures published in 1979.

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