The number of fatal accidents involving drink drivers last year rose by 18 per cent, from 220 in 2010 to 260 in 2011 according to figures published by the Department for Transport.

In the same period, the number of people killed in drink drive accidents increased by 12 per cent, from 250 to 280 (one accident can involve more than one fatality). This means that 15 per cent of all fatalities in road accidents involved drink driving.

The rise in drink drive casualties follows a drop in 2010, when drink drive fatalities were at their lowest in thirty years.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists' chief executive Simon Best said: "Any rise in drink drive casualties is worrying, with 15 per cent of all road fatalities involving a drink driver there is clearly more to be done to reduce casualties."

"The problem is many crashes occur the morning after – there needs to be more education on the effects of driving after drinking. A heavy night drinking could leave you over the limit the morning after. The message to all drivers is don't drink and drive."

Meanwhile the road safety charity, BRAKE, said, ""We are calling on the government to take decisive action on this major killer, including a zero tolerance drink drive limit, to send out a clear message that it's none for the road, and greater priority given to traffic policing, so we have more police carrying out life-saving enforcement."

A limit of zero alcohol in the blood sounds good, but if you eat any food that ferments, small amounts of alcohol will be found in the blood, so the limit cannot be literally zero. Where it might be set is an interesting question (Sweden has a limit of just 20 mg, compared to our 80 mg), but asking for something that is not possible does not seem a very good starting point.