Today’s Department for Transport statistics confirm that 1,901 people were killed in road accidents in 2011, an increase of three per cent on 2010 figures.

23,122 people were seriously injured, an increase of two per cent on 2010 figures.

The numbers for fatalities for bus and coach occupants fell by 22 per cent, 10 per cent for motorcyclists and four per cent for cyclists.

Fatalities for car occupants rose by six per cent and for pedestrians by 12 per cent.

The provisional estimated number of people killed in drink-drive accidents increased by 30 to 280.  The provisional number of killed and seriously injured because of drink driving rose by five per cent to 1570.

Drink driving accounts for more than half of the increase in road deaths.  Of the increase in the number of people killed on our roads (51), 30 can be attributed to drink driving.

Failing to look properly was the most significant contributory factor, reported in 42 per cent of all accidents.

IAM director of policy and research Neil Greig said: “The increase in deaths and serious injuries because of drink driving is absolutely shocking.  It accounts for more than half of the increase in road deaths.  In 2013, we must see a drink driving education campaign, backed up with enforcement, to put an end to these completely unnecessary deaths.

“With last year’s surprising increase in deaths and early indications from 2012 that a trend could be developing, the IAM urges the new road safety minister to make road safety his absolute priority.

“Britain has been at the top of the world road safety league, but a combination of public spending cuts and lack of central targets may be putting this in jeopardy.  The 2011 figures show that saving lives on our roads can never be taken for granted and with human error still the top cause of crashes, education and training must take centre stage in the future.”