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Publication, Part of

Statistics on Alcohol, England 2020

Official statistics, National statistics

National Statistics

Part 6: Road casualties involving illegal alcohol levels


The Department for Transport publishes Reported road casualties in Great Britain: Estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels which provides estimates of casualties arising from reported accidents involving at least one motor vehicle driver or rider over the legal alcohol limit for driving

Figures are derived from the STATS19 forms completed by the police plus toxicology data for road fatalities from coroners and procurators fiscal.

These statistics, especially the number of fatalities, are subject to considerable uncertainty which means that it is impossible to be sure of the precise number of casualties, so ranges and confidence intervals are used.

A drink-drive accident is defined as one where someone is killed or injured, and either one or more drivers involved either failed a roadside breath test, refused to give a specimen or died within 12 hours and was found to have a level of alcohol in their blood.

More information on these tests and the differences in the allowable limits between England, Wales and Scotland can be seen in the source report.


Reported drink-drive accidents – the last 10 years (GB)


Fatalities in reported drink-drive accidents

Final data for 2017 shows that between 230 and 270 people were killed in accidents in Great Britain where at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit, with a central estimate of 250 deaths.  This is about 14% of all deaths in reported road accidents.


Casualties in reported drink-drive accidents

An estimated 8,600 people were killed or injured when at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit, a decrease of 5% on 2016. This is reverting to a similar level to 2015 and continuing a period of stability since 2013.




Last edited: 25 February 2020 2:29 pm