Commenting on new figures released today, RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said:
“These estimates for 2015 are a real cause for concern as they show a statistically significant rise in the number of people killed or seriously injured in accidents where at least one driver was over the limit when compared to 2014. There has also been a rise in the overall drink-drive casualties of all severities over the same period.
“While there is still considerable uncertainty in this figure as it’s an estimate, if it proves to be correct when the final numbers are released in August 2017 it will be the first rise in this type of drink-drive casualty since 2010.
“With Scotland having lowered its drink-drive limit you would hope to see figures at least staying the same, not rising. The only logical conclusion is that more drivers are prepared to risk breaking the law, sadly with tragic consequences.
“Figures from the 2016 RAC Report on Motoring show 6% of motorists have admitted they have driven at least once whilst over the limit, a rise from 3% in 2012, so our concern is that perhaps the messaging on the dangers of drink-driving needs to be strengthened.
“It would be extremely worrying if this was happening because of the fact there are fewer traffic police on the road. We’ve seen the number decline by 27% over the last five years in England and Wales as chief constables seek to manage priorities with decreased budgets leaving us with fewer than 4,000 dedicated officers to enforce motoring laws.”