Alcohol a factor in 40% of road deaths, RSA study shows

Research finds 120 died or seriously injured in June Bank holiday weekends since 2007

Alcohol was a factor in nearly half of the road deaths from 2008-2012, according to the RSA. File photograph: Getty Images

Alcohol was a factor in nearly half of the road deaths from 2008-2012, according to the RSA. File photograph: Getty Images

 

Alcohol was a factor in 38 per cent per cent of road deaths between 2008 and 2012, the Road Safety Authority has said.

In a pre-bank holiday weekend warning to motorists not to mix alcohol and driving, the authority said 120 people lost their lives or suffered serious injuries in collisions over June bank holiday weekends since 2007.

Launching the third report analysing Garda forensic fatal collision investigation files, the RSA said 38 per cent of all fatal collisions involved a driver, motorcyclist, cyclist or pedestrian who had consumed alcohol. Alcohol was a factor in 38 per cent of driver deaths, when these were examined on their own.

Overall, the report found 983 fatal collisions occurred on Irish roads between 2008 and 2012, claiming 1,077 lives. It examined the forensic details of 867 fatal crashes and alcohol was a contributory factor in two out of five, or 330 collisions, which claimed the lives of 286 people. A further 69 people were seriously injured.

Garda Chief Supt Aiden Reid said the June bank holiday weekend marked the start of the worst period for road deaths and gardaí would be deploying “operation lockdown” around towns, and have checkpoints on roads.

Fatalities among young

The analysis concluded 29 per cent of the fatal collisions involved a driver or motorcyclist who had consumed alcohol. Some 9 per cent of all fatal collisions involved a pedestrian who had consumed alcohol. Of the 947 people killed in the 867 collisions analysed, alcohol was a contributory factor in: 38 per cent of driver deaths; 30 per cent of motorcyclist deaths; 47 per cent of pedestrian deaths; and 42 per cent of passenger deaths. Not wearing seatbelts was also an ingredient in drink-driving deaths.

The authority revealed 10 per cent of all alcohol-related collisions took place between 7am and 11am, suggesting a significant proportion were driving “the morning after” not realising they were still affected by alcohol consumption.

Minister for Transport Shane Ross said the analysis overturned the assumption Ireland’s drink-driving problem was reducing. He said there was an assumption young people were not drink-driving.

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