THE number of people hurt or killed in crashes in Worcestershire involving drink-drivers has risen.

Figures from West Mercia’s Safer Roads Partnership show that in 2011, one person was killed, 18 people were seriously injured and 79 people were slightly injured in collisions where alcohol was a contributory factor.

This is compared with just three serious injuries and 76 slight injuries in 2010.

The news comes as provisional estimates from the Department of Transport reveal the number of fatal accidents nationally rose by 18 per cent, from 220 in 2010 to 260 in 2011.

According to the Institute of Advanced Motorists, the rise follows a drop in 2010 when drink-drive deaths were at their lowest in 30 years.

Chief executive Simon Best, from the institute, 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.”

Anna Higgins, communications manager at the Safer Roads Partnership, said: “The partnership works with West Mercia Police to carry out enforcement activity during key times of the year when we traditionally see a rise in drink-drive collisions.

“For example, during our summer campaign it was encouraging to see there was a drop in the number of people providing a positive breath test and an increase in the number of tests carried out, which highlights the force's commitment to tackle drink driving.”