Rise in drink-driving deaths, as police carry out fewer breathalysers

Rise in drink-driving deaths comes as police carry out fewer breathalyser tests and stops on motorists using mobile phones or driving without seatbelts, report says

  • Drink driving, phone use and seatbelt related stops have dropped since 2011
  • They have fallen by 75 per cent amid a tailing off of a decline in UK road deaths
  • Since 2012, spending on road traffic police has also been cut by 34 per cent
  • Report also found some speed cameras are being used for money, not safety 

A rise in drink driving deaths is linked to a fall in police carrying out breathalyser tests, a damning new report will reveal.

The report, due to be published tomorrow, was carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Police and was commissioned by the Department of Transport amid fears that road safety has been compromised by traffic police cuts. 

It found that police stops for drink drivers, those illegally using mobile phones and those driving without a seatbelt have slumped by 75 per cent from 2011. 

The shocking data comes at the same time as a decline in British road deaths tailed off. 

Since 2012, spending on road traffic police has been cut by 34 per cent, compared with cuts of just six per cent in other parts of the force. 

The report is also set to look at whether some speed cameras are being used to generate money to compensate for those cuts, rather than focusing on improving road safety. 

The number of breath tests of drivers dropped by 25 per cent between 2015 and 2018

A source told the Telegraph: ‘The headline will be that roads policing is inadequate and that the Home Office should make it a strategic priority to end years of underfunding.’

The report will reveal that the number of breath tests of drivers dropped by 25 per cent between 2015 and 2018. 

At the same time, the proportion of people killed or seriously injured by drink drivers rose by a similar amount.

Meanwhile, penalty tickets given to drivers using their phones have from 160,000 in 2011 to just 40,000 in 2018. 

Penalty tickets given to drivers using their phones have from 160,000 in 2011 to just 40,000 in 2018

Since 2012, spending on road traffic police has been cut by 34 per cent, the report found

When it comes to seatbelts, the proportion of road deaths where drivers or passengers were not wearing seatbelts has risen from 18 per cent in 2013 to 26 per cent in 2018.

Fixed penalty notices issued for not wearing seatbelts also fell during the period, from 85,000 to 20,000.

The report is also calling for greater transparency on how money is raised and spent through speed cameras.   

A source said: ‘There is no suggestion they don’t work but the inspectors are saying they are aware of occasions where these cameras were sited for revenue purposes rather than safety.’

The inspectors’ report is based on a detailed investigation into seven forces including the Metropolitan Police.

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