Report shows decline in drink-driving deathsBy Melita Kiely
The number of drink-driving fatalities has fallen in all countries except two where data is currently available, according to a new report from the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD).
The number of drink-driving deaths declined in 34 out of 36 countries where official national data is available. In Europe, 24 out of 26 countries reported a drop in drink-driving fatalities between 2006 and 2016.
A total of 14 European countries experienced a reduction of at least 50%, including Great Britain (down 64%) and Germany (down 62%).
Further afield, drink-driving fatalities also decreased in Japan (down 77%), Australia (down 26%), the US (down 17%) and New Zealand (down 7%).
However, in contrast Serbia and the Czech Republic both reported an increase in the number of drink-driving deaths.
Furthermore, the IARD said its report highlighted a “lack of robust data collection” in many regions worldwide. It urged greater efforts for international monitoring of drink-driving.
Henry Ashworth, CEO of IARD, said: “Drink driving is harmful behaviour and although there have been downward trends in many countries where data is available, there is still much work to be done. It is critical that we continue to build on these downward trends and ensure everyone recognises the harms linked to drink driving.
“Government regulation and enforcement are the cornerstones for further reducing drink driving. These, alongside effective partnerships between industry, the public sector and civil society, are crucial to promoting awareness of the risks and reinforcing the message that drink driving is socially unacceptable.
“Together, we can ensure that the positive decline in drink driving seen in many areas continues to spread, creating long-lasting changes in our societies across the world.”
Portman Group responds
The news that drink-driving fatalities have dropped in so many countries was welcomed by trade body the Portman Group.
John Timothy, Portman Group chief executive, said: “It is encouraging to see that since 2007 the total number of drink-driving accidents in the UK has decreased by 53% and the number of fatalities by 39%.
“Such progress is testament to the combined efforts of industry, government, campaigners and the police to embed a societal-wide change in attitudes towards drink driving.
“Of course, there is more to do. We are not complacent and I know the industry will continue to support a range of anti-drinking and designated driver campaigns.”