Hundreds of drink-drive casualties in Surrey over three years
Hundreds of people were killed or injured in drink driving incidents in Surrey over just three years, new figures show.
The Campaign Against Drink Driving said the more than 14,000 casualties across the country shows there are "many people who need to be educated about the perils of drink and drug driving".
Office for Health Improvement and Disparities figures show 423 people were killed or injured in a crash in Surrey where there was a failed breathalyser test, or the driver refused to take one, between 2018 and 2020.
This was down from 447 between 2017 and 2019.
It meant drink driving incidents accounted for 3.9% of all casualties on the area's roads between 2018 and 2020.
Nationally, 14,018 people were killed or injured in a drink driving collision between 2018 and 2020 – 3.6% of the total number of casualties on the country's roads.
It marked a decrease from 15,133 (3.6%) between 2017 and 2019.
The latest figures include 2020, during which successive lockdowns reduced driving activity.
Rural communities tended to have higher drink-drive casualty rates, while they were lower in urban areas, with 12 of the bottom 14 all in London.
Rutland had the highest rate, at 7.3%, while Camden had the lowest, at 0.7%.
John Scruby, trustee of the Campaign Against Drink Driving and a former police officer who has spent the last 42 years trying to prevent deaths and injuries on England's roads, said the fall in casualties is welcome news, but that more must be done to educate people about the perils of drink and drug driving, adding: "Education is the key factor to prevent drink and drug driving."
Mr Scruby also said greater enforcement is needed, but that it is the "final option" and has become more difficult following the decline in the number of dedicated road policing officers in the last 10 years.
The Home Office said it is putting more police on the streets to keep communities safe.
A spokesperson added: "More than 13,500 additional officers have already been recruited across England and Wales and we are on track to deliver our commitment to recruit 20,000, however the deployment of officers is an operational decision for Chief Constables."
Rebecca Ashton, head of policy and research at road safety charity I Am Road Smart, said that "we do need to do more to make the roads a safer place for people".
Separate Department for Transport figures, which do not have local authority data, show around 40 people died in drink driving incidents in the South East in 2020 – down from 50 the year before.
Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 to reflect uncertainty in the estimates.