Motoring groups have called for tougher action on drink driving after new statistics showed a 25% increase in related fatalities since 2015.
According to Reported road casualties in Great Britain: final estimates involving illegal alcohol levels: 2017, published by the Department for Transport, between 230 and 270 people were killed in crashes in 2017 where at least one driver or rider was over the drink drive limit, with a central estimate of 250 deaths.
This compares to central estimates of 230 fatalities in 2016 and 200 fatalities in 2015 and represents about 14% of all deaths in reported road crashes in 2017.
Officials said the 2017 final estimate is similar to levels seen since 2010 and that the 9% rise since 2016 is not statistically significant. The final estimate for 2014 was 240.
RAC head of policy Nicholas Lyes said: 'These figures are disappointing and show that much more needs to be done to eradicate the scourge of drink-driving. The data shows that no discernible progress has been made for nine years in reducing the number of people killed in road traffic collisions where at least one driver was over the legal drink-drive limit.
‘The Government should be looking closely at all its options, even reviewing the drink-drive limit. But ultimately, it is absolutely vital that we have police enforcing laws and increasing roadside breathalyser testing so that law breakers know they will be caught.’
AA president Edmund King said: 'As well as needing more cops in cars to catch people in the act, the ultimate responsibility lies with drivers themselves. Put simply, if you are going to drink, don’t drive and if you are going to drive, don’t drink.'
In 2017, in total an estimated 8,600 people were killed or injured when at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit.
This represents a reduction of 5% from 9,040 in 2016.
The total number of crashes where at least one driver was over the alcohol limit fell by 6% to 5,700 in 2017.
The final estimate of fatalities for 2017 is based on coroners’ and procurators’ fiscal reports for 66% of the drivers or riders who were killed in road traffic crashes in 2017 in addition to breath tests taken at the scene.