This time of year is when many people finally get the chance to let their hair down and enjoy the Christmas spirit and with this comes a sense of lessened responsibility when it comes to road safety. The focus of the local police forces and many road safety charities over the Christmas period is reminding people the dangers of drink driving and at the beginning of the month Scotland reduced their drink-drive limit, prompting new studies into the act.
On 4th December an analysis into drink driving, focusing mainly on gender, was published. It’s one of the most recent studies out there as it looked at the 12-month period up to August 2014. The data found that women accounted for an average of 23% of all roadside breath tests, varying from 15% in Cambridgeshire to 29% in North Wales and it also found that 10% of men and 7% of women failed the test on average. More than the specific results of the analysis though, it found out some interesting things about the way testing is carried out across the UK.
The level of testing for drink driving is hugely varied, with an average of 12 breath tests per 1000 population across the UK (2012 figure) with the highest figures in North Wales and lowest in Avon and Somerset. There are no national guidelines for the police to suggest how many breath tests should be carried out and therefore maybe there is a need for some consistency as it’s no wonder the data overall showed more failed tests in North Wales than other areas, as they give significantly more tests than other areas.
Drink Driving Casualties
Records relating to casualties on the road because of drink driving have been kept since 1979 and positive news shows that in 2010, 2011 and 2012 drink drive deaths were at their lowest ever since records began, but still accounted for 13% of all death on the roads.
In 2012 serious injuries due to drink driving on the road were down 6% on the previous year, with 1,200 people injured. The statistics for slight injuries rose very slightly, by 1%, to 8,510. Although these figures do sound unnecessarily high, drink drive deaths and accidents which result in serious injuries are down by a huge 85% from 1979 when records first began, showing that the culture of drink driving is changing and perhaps the huge number of advertising, government and police campaigns are having an effect.
Avoiding accident or injury in the festive period isn’t top of your priority schedule but not getting behind the wheel of the car after a drink is one way of guaranteeing you’re not the dangerous driver on the road.