Death rates involving drink-drivers hit an 11-year high during the pandemic, official figures reveal.
An estimated 220 people were killed by drink-drivers in 2020, according to the Department for Transport data.
They accounted for more than 15 per cent of fatalities on the roads, up from 13.1 per cent the previous year. It is the highest proportion since 2009.
The AA’s Edmund King said: ‘The increase in the proportion of these fatalities may be linked to some people consuming more alcohol during lockdown and more people avoiding public transport.’
There was also a fall in the number of breath tests by police, attributed to the pandemic.
A total of 252,069 drivers were breathalysed in 2020, 18 per cent down on the year before.
Death rates involving drink-drivers hit an 11-year high during the pandemic, official data shows
Overall, there was an estimated 1,460 road deaths in 2020, a decrease of 17 per cent on the previous year.
Mr King added: ‘There is no excuse for drink-driving. If you are going to drive, don’t drink and if you are going to drink, don’t drive.
‘Unfortunately, the consequences of heavier drinking at home seem to have had dire consequences on the roads in 2020.
‘There has also been a reduction in breath tests administered, so to correct this we need more cops in cars to target these totally irresponsible and dangerous drink-drivers.’
The RAC’s roads policy chief, Nicholas Lyes, said the figures show that ‘even the restrictions on our lives were not enough to stop a hard core who continued to break the law with tragic consequences.’
The figures are an estimate based on coroners’ and other reports and so are subject to change.
The figures are an estimate based on coroners’ and other reports and so are subject to change
They showed that overall result involving drink-drivers were 6,480, including 5,100 ‘slight’ injuries and 1,160 ‘serious’ injuries.
A report by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (Pacts) last year highlighted the issue of repeat offending.
It found that one in six drink-drive offences since 2010 was committed by a driver previously convicted for drink or drug-driving.
The drink-drive limit in England and Wales has been 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood since 1967.
No other part of Europe has a limit above 50mg/100ml, according to Pacts.
In 2014, the Scottish Government reduced the limit to that level.
The Northern Ireland Assembly passed legislation to follow Scotland’s reduction in 2018.