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Roads: Drink Driving

Volume 691: debated on Tuesday 1 May 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the percentage change in drink-driving-related road deaths compared with other road deaths between 1996–98 and 2005; what is the source of this information; and what is this percentage change and the maximum permitted level of blood alcohol for drivers in each European Union member state. [HL3376]

Provisional estimates suggest that between the 1996-98 average and 2005, there was a 6 per cent increase in the number of people killed in reported personal-injury drink-drive accidents. Over the same period, the estimated number of people killed in non-drink-drive accidents fell by 12 per cent.

Personal injury road accident data in Great Britain are collected by the police and reported to the department using the STATS19 accident report format. Results are published in detail in Road Casualties Great Britain: Annual report. The report for 2005 was published on 28 September 2006 and can be found at www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/accidents/casualtiesgbar/roadcasualtiesgreatbritain2005.

Two sources of data are used to assess the extent and characteristics of drink-drive accidents in Great Britain. These sources are:

Coroners' data—Information about the level of alcohol in the blood of road accident fatalities aged 16 or over who die within 12 hours of a road accident is provided by coroners in England and Wales and by procurators fiscal in Scotland; and

STATS19 breath-test dataThe personal injury road accident reporting system (STATS19) provides data on injury accidents in which the driver or rider survived and was also breath-tested at the roadside. If the driver or rider refused to provide a breath-test specimen then they are considered to have failed the test unless they are deemed unable to take the test for medical reasons.

The maximum permitted level of blood alcohol content (BAC) for drivers, the annual average number of fatalities and vehicle population for 1996-98, the number of fatalities and vehicle population in 2005, the percentage change in the number of people killed in all reported personal injury road accidents, and the percentage change in the vehicle population in each European Union member state, can be seen in the following table.

A road safety performance index, published by the European Transport Safety Council, contains information on the percentage change in drink-driving deaths relative to other road deaths between 1996-98 and 2005 in European Union member states. This can be accessed at: www.etsc.be/documents/copy_of_copy_of_PIN%20Flash%205.pdf.

EU Country

BAC 1 level

Fatalities 1996-98 annual average 2

Fatalities 2005 2

% change in all fatalities (1996-98 average—2005) 2

Vehicle population 1996-98 annual average 6

Vehicle population 2005 6

% change in all vehicles (1996-98 average—2005) 6

Austria

0.5

1,032

768

-26%

5,038

5,576

11%

Belgium

0.5

1,407

1,089

-23%

5,342

6,159

15%

Bulgaria

0.5

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Cyprus

0.5

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Czech Republic

0.0

1,508

1,286

-15%

Not available

Not available

Not available

Denmark

0.5

501

331

-34%

2,265

2,637

16%

Estonia

0.2

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Finland

0.5

414

379

-8%

2,380

3,000

26%

France

0.5

8,634

5,318

-38%

31,991

38,499

20%

Germany

0.5

8,366

5,361

-36%

50,650

56,322

11%

Greece

0.5

2,148

1,658

-23%

5,511

8,308

51%

Hungary

0.0

1,377

1,278

-7%

2,771

3,370

22%

Ireland 3

0.8

461

335

-27%

1,427

1,937

36%

Italy 4

0.5

6,754

5,625

-17%

41,043

48,348

18%

Latvia

0.5

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Lithuania

0.4

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Luxembourg 4

0.8

63

50

-20%

286

358

25%

Malta

0.8

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Netherlands

0.5

1,136

750

-34%

7,539

8,627

14%

Poland

0.2

6,916

5,444

-21%

12,253

16,815

37%

Portugal

0.5

2,243

1,247

-44%

4,584

5,899

29%

Romania

0.8

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Slovakia 5

0.0

741

610

-18%

1,556

1,834

18%

Slovenia

0.5

351

258

-27%

893

1,184

33%

Spain

0.5

5,681

4,442

-22%

21,091

29,969

42%

Sweden

0.2

536

440

-18%

4,559

5,291

16%

United Kingdom

0.8

3,688

3,336

-10%

27,612

33,717

22%

1Source: European Transport Safety Commission

2Source: OECD, International Road Traffic and Accident Database

3 2003 fatalities, vehicle population and percentage difference from 2003 to the 1996-98 annual average

4 2004 fatalities, vehicle population and percentage difference from 2004 to the 1996-98 annual average

5 2002 fatalities, vehicle population and percentage difference from 2002 to the 1996-98 annual average

6Source: OECD, International Road Traffic and Accident Database