HC Deb 26 January 1998 vol 305 cc5-6W
Mr. Brady

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what estimate he has made of the number of deaths caused in each of the last 10 years by drivers who had consumed at least one alcoholic drink in the 12 hours prior to an accident but who had a blood alcohol limit lower than the legal limit at the time of accident. [22821]

Ms Glenda Jackson

This information is not available in the form requested.

When drivers are breath-tested and found to be within the legal limit their precise breath or blood alcohol content is not normally measured, so no information about their alcohol consumption, if any, is available. It is known that some drivers with blood alcohol below the legal limit, including drivers who cause a death, are prosecuted and convicted of "under the influence" drinking-driving offences, but no estimate can be made of the number of fatalities.

Where a driver has been killed in a road accident the driver's blood alcohol level may be taken in post mortem examinations on behalf of Coroners and Procurators Fiscal. Figures based on these reports are given in the table. They have been adjusted for under-reporting and include the estimated number of persons other than the driver to have been killed in the accidents concerned. 1995 is the latest year for which sufficient information is currently available.

These figures do not show when alcohol was last consumed by the drivers in these accidents, nor whether the presence of alcohol played any role in causing or aggravating the accidents. Other things being equal, the lower the concentration of alcohol, the less likely it is the alcohol was the cause of the accident.

Accidents where the driver had a blood alcohol concentration below 10mg/100m1 are not included in this table because below that level, measurement is unreliable and may indicate natural fermentation rather than consumption of alcohol.

Fatalities in road accidents involving a motor vehicle driver or rider who was killed with a blood alcohol level between 10 and 80mg/100ml: Great Britain (adjusted for under-reporting)
1986 270
1987 310
1988 270
1989 320
1990 270
1991 270
1992 270
1993 200
1994 260
1995 250

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