Brake, the road safety charity, is calling for urgent government action to tackle drink drive casualties, after new government statistics revealed a 17% increase in drink drive deaths in Britain.

In 2012, 280 people were killed (one in six road deaths) and 1,210 were seriously injured in crashes involving someone over the limit, compared with 240 killed and 1,270 seriously injured in 2011.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: “We have the highest drink-drive limit in Europe, and it sends out the dreadful message that a drink or two before driving is acceptable. Every other country in Europe bar one has decided a lower limit is safer, yet our government rejected the strong recommendations for a tougher approach.

“We are appealing to Westminster to review that decision in light of today’s figures showing a horrifying increase in people being violently killed at the hands of drink drivers. These deaths are cruel and needless, ending lives too soon and leaving behind traumatised and broken families to pick up the pieces. The evidence shows that tougher laws and greater enforcement would help prevent these casualties: we need the government to act urgently upon this.”