The Department for Transport’s (DFT) provisional estimates for 2018 show that between 220 and 270 people were killed in crashes in Great Britain where at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit.

The DfT said: “The provisional estimate of fatalities for 2018 is similar to levels seen since 2010.”

An estimated 8,700 people were killed or injured when at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit, which is an increase of 1% from 8,600 in 2017.

Most worryingly, the total number of crashes where at least one driver was over the alcohol limit rose by 4% to 5,900 in 2018.

The country’s largest independent road safety charity IAM RoadSmart is calling for the government to introduce a ‘smarter’ package of measures to tackle this important issue.

Measures being advocated by IAM RoadSmart include a further lowering of the drink-drive limit in England and Wales to match Scotland, wider use of drink-drive rehabilitation courses and also following the example of Scotland by seizing the vehicles of repeat offenders.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart, said: “Once again progress on reducing the toll of death and injuries from drink-driving has stalled.

“There is no one simple answer to reducing these figures, but IAM RoadSmart believe we now need a much smarter  package of measures from the government including a lower drink-drive limit to reinforce good behaviour, fast-track of evidential roadside testing machines to release police resources and tailored approaches to help drivers with alcohol problems.

“Rehabilitation courses work and we think all those convicted of drink-driving should be sent on one automatically rather than having to opt in. More use of alcohol interlocks and extra penalties such as vehicle forfeiture, as used in Scotland, could all be part of a more joined-up approach to the problem.”

Neil concluded: “Drink-drivers are simply not getting the message, and these figures will not improve until policy changes.”