The number of people killed or injured in drink-driving related crashes has hit its highest level since 2012.
Data from the Department of Transport shows that 240 people were killed in drink-drive crashes during 2016, with a further 8,810 people injured.
These figures mark a year-on-year increase on comparable stats from 2015, of 18% for deaths and 7% for injuries, respectively.
The RAC said the figures are “very disappointing” while road safety campaigners Brake called on the government to do more to protect road users.
The figures show that almost 4 in 5 (79%) drink-drive crashes involved male drivers and 20% involving female motorists, with both genders showing an increase in collisions from 2015.
The total number of drink-related crashes also rose by 6% to 6,070, meaning that in total around 4% of all reported road traffic collisions involved at least one driver or rider above the legal alcohol limit.
However, despite the worrying figures for 2016, there continues to be a long-term reduction in drink-drive crashes. In 1979, over 31,000 people were killed or injured in drink-related collisions.
In response to its own statistics, the DfT said the figures were not statistically significant and represented a continued “period of stability” in records since 2010.
Commenting on the latest figures, RAC spokesman Pete Williams said the clear message from the figures is that drink driving ruins lives and makes our roads more dangerous.
He said: “We need to understand whether it is the hardcore of habitual heavy drinkers or a growth in the number of drivers who admit that they occasionally drive knowing they may well be over the limit.”
Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns for Brake expressed his own disappointment at the figures and urged the Government to do more to curb drink-driving.
He said: “The Government should put its money where its mouth is and align the [drink-driving] law with the message from its ‘Think!’ campaign.”
If you want to help keep your family and friends safe and learn more about the laws surrounding drink-driving, check out our complete guide to drink-driving laws.