Friday, 09 October 2020 18:10

Drink-driving linked to crashes Featured

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Drink-driving was linked to dozens of crashes resulting in death or injury in Wiltshire last year, new figures reveal.

Road safety charity Brake called the persistence of dangerous behaviour on the roads “deeply concerning” as it renewed calls for a zero-tolerance stance on drink and drug driving nationally.

Department for Transport data shows drivers or riders impaired by alcohol contributed to 51 crashes in Wiltshire last year.

The figures, which report contributory factors for incidents as recorded by police, also show 11 people affected by illicit or medicinal drugs.

Officers can record one or more causes for any vehicle incident where someone suffers even a slight injury. These do not have to involve cars and may include a cyclist falling over or a motorbike colliding with a pedestrian.

A driver or rider could be marked as being impaired by alcohol or drugs if police believe their behaviour directly caused or contributed to the accident, whether over the legal limit or not.

A total 835 incidents recorded in Wiltshire had contributory factors in 2019 – alcohol was linked to 6% of these, while impairment through drugs was reported in one per cent.

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

Joshua Harris, Brake’s director of campaigns, said the presence of drink and drug driving on the roads is concerning but “all too predictable”.

“We know that any amount of alcohol impairs driving, and yet the Government persists with the highest drink-drive limit in Europe in England, Wales and Northern Ireland,” he said.

“We urge the Government to introduce an effective zero tolerance drink-drive limit, providing much-needed clarity to all drivers that if you drink, you must not drive.”

Transport committee MPs announced this month that they are considering a no-alcohol limit for new drivers under the age of 25 in a bid to curb the number of casualties on the roads each year.

The most common contributory factor in Wiltshire was drivers and riders not looking properly, listed in 47% of incidents, followed by failing to judge the other person’s path or speed (35%) and losing control (18%).

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