Page last updated at 12:37 GMT, Thursday, 7 August 2008 13:37 UK

Drink-drive death total drops 18%

Car crash
The total number of drink-driving related incidents has increased

The number of people killed by drinking and driving has fallen by almost a fifth, government statistics reveal.

Latest figures from the Department for Transport show fatalities were down 18% - from 560 in 2006 to 460 in 2007.

The number of serious injuries also fell, from 1,970 in 2006 to 1,760 last year - a fall of 11%.

But an increase in more minor incidents saw the total number of drink and driving deaths and injuries rise by 220 cases a year to 9,620 - a 2% increase.

The number of fatalities is now lower than it has been since 1999.

Transport Minister Rosie Winterton said: "Drink driving ruins lives. That is why it is such good news that the number of people killed or seriously hurt in this way fell.

"But any death or injury caused by a drink driver is one too many, and we will continue our efforts to tackle this serious issue."

She added: "Thirty years of government campaigns and enforcement work by the courts and police are having a positive effect, but we can always do more.

Cathy Keeler from road safety charity Brake said: "It's obviously good news but more can be done.

"There are deaths associated with drivers who aren't over the legal limit but still have a significant amount of alcohol in their system and these aren't included in these figures.

"Academics estimate that setting a lower limit could save dozens of lives every year."

She added: "We are calling on the government to reduce the drinking and driving limit as we believe a very clear message is needed that it is not acceptable to drink any alcohol at all and drive."

The government is planning a consultation later this year to look at the legislation and enforcement around drinking and driving.

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