Drivers and riders killed – percentage over the legal blood alcohol limit (Department for Transport, Great Britain, 1979-2012).
Statistics released by the Department for Transport are presented by age, type of vehicle driven/ridden and the year for which data is made available.
From these most emotive of statistics, it is somewhat heartening to report that the total number of fatalities who tested over the legal blood alcohol limit has fallen from 32% (in 1979) to 18% (in 2012).
The sharpest drop is that of motorcycle riders, which saw a fall from 31% to 6% over the 33 year period in question.
The reduction for the deaths of car and other motor vehicle drivers was less pronounced, falling from 32% to 24%.
Whether the person killed was driving a car/other vehicle, or riding a motorcycle, the highest concentration of deaths is to be found in the 20-29 years and 30-39 years age groups.
Interestingly, the figures for deaths in the 16-19 years age group, for drivers of cars/other vehicles, is almost always higher (on just one occasion equal to, and never less than) the figures for deaths in the 40+ years age group.
As these official statistics focus on the percentage of motorists killed who were over the legal blood alcohol limit, the figures have to be reversed in order to identify how many were under the legal limit.
For example, the most recent data, for 2012, indicates that 94% of motorcycle riders and 82% of car/other vehicle drivers would have been under the legal limit at the time of their deaths.
These up-to-date figures are much more positive than the figures for 1979, which indicate that 69% of motorcycle riders and 68% of car/other vehicle drivers would have been under the legal limit when they were killed.
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