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Drink-drive casualties reach four-year high

An estimated 230 people died in drink-drive crashes during 2016
An estimated 230 people died in drink-drive crashes during 2016
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The number of drink-drive casualties has reached a four-year high, new figures show.

An estimated 9,040 people were killed or injured on Britain's roads in 2016 in crashes where a driver was over the alcohol limit, according to the Department for Transport (DfT).

This is an increase of 7% on the previous year and is the highest level since 2012.

It represents around one in 20 of all casualties in reported road accidents in 2016.

An estimated 230 people died in drink-drive crashes during the year, up from 200 in 2015.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at road safety charity Brake, claimed current laws give a "false impression" that it is safe to drink and drive, warning that "even very small amounts of alcohol dramatically affect safe driving".

The Scottish Government reduced the alcohol limit for drivers from 80 milligrammes (mg) per 100 millilitres (ml) of blood to 50mg in December 2014, but the legal level in the rest of the UK remains 80mg.

Mr Harris said: "How many more lives must be needlessly lost before the Government acts on drink-driving?

"Today's figures show that drink-driving is an increasing blight on British roads and yet the Government sits on its hands and refuses to address the issue."

"Brake is calling for the Government to implement an effective zero tolerance drink-drive limit of 20mg per 100ml of blood, making clear to drivers that not a drop of alcohol is safe."

RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams described the casualty statistics as "very disappointing".

He said: "The number of KSI (killed or seriously injured) accidents involving illegal levels of alcohol have been relatively stable for a number of years but are now worryingly showing an increase.

"We are concerned that this may be the start of a trend to which the Government must be vigilant."