Provisional estimates for 2016 show that 9,050 people were killed or injured in road collisions in Great Britain when at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit.

The figures, released by the Government’s Department for Transport, show an estimated increase in drink-drive fatalities over the previous year.

Commenting on the estimates, RAC spokesman Pete Williams said that, while a final figure won’t be available for a number of months, the emerging picture is a disturbing one.

“At best, progress in reducing fatal crashes as a result of people drinking and driving continues to stall, and at worse there has been an increase for the first time since 2009 – which would be the biggest year-on-year rise in such crashes since 2000,” he said. “We are under no illusion about the scale of the challenge when it comes to ending the menace of drink-drivers on the UK’s roads – not least in addressing the problem of persistent offenders.

“For these hard core offenders, drink-driving it is likely to be a symptom of other problems in their lives which are neither simple or cheap to fix. But despite this, we today call on the Government to make it crystal clear to drink-drive offenders that enough is enough.”

Williams is calling for greater communication on the current strategy for tackling drink-driving. He says the police must also have the resources they need to robustly enforce the law and make the roads a safer place.

“We also repeat our plea to the Government to review the drink-drive limit in England and Wales – the limit in these parts of the UK is among the most forgiving of anywhere in Europe, which surely sends the wrong message to anyone who thinks about getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink,” he added.