More falling victim to drink driving

Drink driving accounted for a higher proportion of road casualties in South Tyneside than almost anywhere else in England, new figures show

Drink drive casualty numbers.
Drink drive casualty numbers.

Office for Health Improvement and Disparities figures show 37 people were killed or injured in a crash in South Tyneside where there was a failed breathalyser test, or the driver refused to take one, between 2018 and 2020.

This was up from 30 between 2017 and 2019.

It means drink driving incidents accounted for 5.5% of all casualties on the area's roads – one of the highest rates in the country.

Nationally, 14,018 people were killed or injured in a drink driving collision between 2018 and 2020 – 3.6% of the total number of casualties on the country's roads and a decrease from 15,133 (3.6%) between 2017 and 2019.

The latest figures include 2020, during which successive lockdowns reduced driving activity.

John Scruby, trustee of the Campaign Against Drink Driving, said the fall in casualties is welcome, but that more must be done to educate people about the perils of drink and drug driving.

He added: "Education is the key factor to prevent drink and drug driving."

Mr Scruby also said greater enforcement is needed, but that it is an option and has become more difficult following the decline in the number of dedicated road policing officers in the last decade.

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A Home Office spokesperson said: "More than 13,500 additional officers have already been recruited and we are on track to deliver our commitment to recruit 20,000, however the deployment of officers is an operational decision for chief constables."