Drunk driving continues claiming lives in Turkey where traffic accidents prove fatal for more than 3,000 people almost every year. The latest statistics published by the state-run Anadolu Agency (AA) reveal that 75 people were killed and 6,754 others were injured in accidents caused by drunk drivers between Jan. 1 of last year and April 1, with police seizing the driver's licenses of nearly 130,000 people for drunk driving in that same period.
Last year, 3,297 motorists were involved in accidents resulting in injuries, some of them fatal, while drinking and driving. That number includes only cases within police jurisdiction while the gendarmerie monitors crime and traffic in rural areas. According to figures,, 58 people were killed in drunk driving accidents and 5,605 were injured in 2015. Seventeen people have been killed and 1,149 others were injured between January and March of this year.
Police seized the driver's licenses of more than 101,000 people for drink driving last year and in the first three months of 2016 more than 27,000 people have had their driver's licenses suspended. Drunk drivers are subject to fines and license suspension for six months and lose the right to operate a motor vehicle.
Drunk driving is the most common cause of driver's license suspension. Some 1.1 million drivers had their licenses suspended in the past decade, with the majority of them suspended in the same period.
Turkey introduced tougher traffic laws in 2014 to fight drunk driving, which claims hundreds of lives every year in traffic accidents. A new law, effective since January, bans alcoholics aspiring to drive from obtaining a driver's license and sees that those who develop an addiction to the substance after obtaining their driver's license have their licenses revoked.
Despite repeated awareness campaigns, regular vehicle inspections and strict fines issued to motorists for driving under the influence of alcohol, figures reveal that there has been no decline in the number of alcohol-related accidents. Accidents are often the result of drunk driving and drivers disregarding road safety rules.