MORE than 60 people were killed or injured in drink driving incidents in the town over a three-year period, shock new figures have revealed.

Statistics from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities show a total of 61 people were killed or injured in a crash in Barnsley where there was a filed breathalyser test - or the driver refused to take one - between 2018 and 2020.

It meant that drink driving incidents accounted for almost four per cent of all the casualties on Barnsley’s roads in the time frame.

However there was a marked decrease, down from 73, between 2017 and 2019.

Nationally, 14,018 people were killed or injured in a drink driving collision between 2018 and 2020 - 3.6 per cent of the total number of casualties on the country’s roads.

It marked a decrease from 15,133 between 2017 and 2019.

The latest figures include 2020, during which successive lockdowns reduced driving activity.

Rural communities tended to have higher drink-drive casualty rates, while they were lower in urban areas, with 12 of the bottom 14 all in London

The Campaign Against Drink Driving said the number of casualties shows there are ‘many people who need to be educated about the perils of drink and drug driving’.

John Scruby, trustee of the campaign and a former officer with Sout Yorkshire Police, told the Chronicle that he welcomes the fall over the past few years but added greater enforcement is needed on the country’s roads.

“Education is the key factor to prevent drink and drug driving,” he added.

“From the campaign’s point of view, the aim is not so much toget a zero limit on alcohol as we know that’s unachievable, it’s that we want to engage with people about the legal limit.

“We’re trying to get a zero tolerance to drink driving.

“When you look at the figures they’re not just figures, they’re real humans.

“More than 270 people in the UK appear in court every day with drink driving - they’re clearly not getting the message.

“It’s not the case you can drink two pints and get away with it - beers now are much stronger.

“It affects different people differently.

“There’s no way of knowing when you hit that legal limit.

“The only safe when you can drive is by drinking no alcohol.”

The Home Office has confirmed it is putting more police officers on the street to keep residents safe.

A spokesperson added: “More than 13,500 additional officers have already been recruited across England and Wales and we are on track to deliver our commitment to recruit 20,000, however the deployment of officers is an operational decision for chief constables.”