Substantial decline in drink driving deaths

  • Drink-driving fatalities declined in 34 of 36 countries worldwide for which official national data is available.
  • Fatalities reduced in 24 of 26 countries in Europe between 2006 and 2016.
  • 14 European countries saw a drop of at least 50% over this period, including Great Britain (64%) and Germany (62%).
  • The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) is highlighting that more needs to be done to keep reducing drink driving, through partnerships that support government regulation, as well as improving data collection ­– particularly in developing countries – to give a fuller global picture.
Deaths from drink driving have declined in 34 out of 36 countries worldwide where data is available. The figures were highlighted in a report published by the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), which analyzed official data from 36 countries across four continents.
The analysis also highlighted that fatalities from drink driving have dropped by more than half in 10 years across many European countries. Decreases of almost two-thirds were recorded in several European nations, including the UK (-64%) and Germany (-62%), in the decade to 2016 according to the report, which included 26 European countries.
Looking further around the world, the report also shows a reduction in drink driving fatalities was also seen in Japan (-77%), Australia (-26%), the USA (-17%), and New Zealand (-7%).
However, increases were also identified in countries including Serbia and the Czech Republic, emphasizing that much more work is required to further reduce deaths from drink-driving.
The IARD report also points out the lack of robust data collection in many areas across the world. It calls for greater efforts to monitor drink driving internationally, and for robust partnerships among private and public sectors and communities.
Despite declines in many areas, drink driving remains a concern for many adults. New research conducted by YouGov for IARD revealed that on average nearly half (44%) of 12,000 adults across nine countries believe that drink driving has increased in their country over the last decade.
Henry Ashworth, CEO of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, said: “Drink driving is harmful behavior, and although there have been downward trends in many countries where data is available, there is still much work to be done. It is critical that we continue to build on these downward trends and ensure everyone recognizes the harms linked to drink driving.
“Government regulation and enforcement are the cornerstones for further reducing drink driving. These, alongside effective partnerships between industry, the public sector, and civil society, are crucial to promoting awareness of the risks and reinforcing the message that drink driving is socially unacceptable.
Together, we can ensure that the positive decline in drink driving seen in many areas continues to spread, creating long-lasting changes in our societies across the world.”
IARD and its members have worked in innovative partnerships, including:
  • When you drink never drive: a partnership in Vietnam between Heineken, the National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC), and Uber to offer practical solutions, challenge perceptions, and engage drivers in safer behaviors. The campaign provided luxury Green Ride Uber cars in which consumers could win free rides home. Over 130,000 taxi vouchers were distributed throughout the country, reinforcing the message that drink driving is socially unacceptable.
  • Partnering with the Cambodian Red Cross: partnering with the Cambodian Red Cross (CRC) and key road-safety participants. The project used evidence-based strategies and interventions to promote responsible road behaviors and discourage drink driving. The program targeted eight cities and provinces, covering 52% of the 15.6 million people who live in Cambodia. The project team worked with industry and government bodies to hold capability-building workshops that reached nearly 900 traffic police, youths, and volunteers. 36,000 students and vulnerable road users participated in drink driving awareness campaigns.
  • A whole of society approach in Mexico: IARD, its members in Mexico, and local partners CONADIC and FISAC implemented the Towards zero deaths from drinking and driving campaign to promote responsible drinking behavior.
A link to the full report, Trends report drink drinking. Working together to deliver change: How a whole of society approach can combat drink driving, and statistics can be found here:
All figures related to polling, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov plc. Total sample size was 12,137 adults in the United Kingdom (2,136), Germany (2,142), France (2,011), Australia (1,097), Japan (1,000), Mexico (1,009), New Zealand (1,000), the United States (1,229), and South Africa (513). Fieldwork was undertaken between June 19 and July 4, 2019. The surveys were conducted online. The figures have been given an even weighting for each country to produce a cross-country average value.
The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to reducing harmful drinking. We are supported by the leading global beer, wine, and spirits producers, who have come together to be part of the solution in combating the harmful use of alcohol. To achieve this, we work with public sector, civil society, and private sector stakeholders. For more information on our membership and what we do, please visit
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