Half of all pedestrians killed on Irish roads had alcohol taken

Some pedestrians who died between 2008 and 2015 were four times over legal driving limit

Half of all pedestrians killed on Irish roads between 2008 and 2015 whose deaths were analysed by either the Garda or the coroner, had alcohol taken.

Half of all pedestrians killed on Irish roads between 2008 and 2015 whose deaths were analysed by either the Garda or the coroner, had alcohol taken.

 

The extent to which alcohol has played a part in the death of pedestrians on Irish roads has been revealed by new research.

Half of all pedestrians killed on Irish roads whose deaths were analysed by either the Garda or the coroner, had alcohol taken.

The Road Safety Authority of Ireland (RSA) analysis revealed there were 313 pedestrians killed on Irish roads between 2008 and 2015, of whom 215 were tested for the presence of alcohol.

Half (105) tested positively and most were well over the legal driving limit.

Some 24 pedestrians who died were found to have had blood alcohol readings of at least 200mgs of alcohol per 100mls of blood which is four times the legal driving limit. Twenty-eight had readings higher than 250mgs/mls – five times the legal driving limit.

The pedestrians who died after drinking alcohol were overwhelmingly male (88 per cent) and they predominantly died on rural roads (60 per cent).

The majority of pedestrian fatalities overall took place on urban roads, which are classified as those roads with a speed limit under 60km/h.

The majority of pedestrians who had consumed alcohol were killed between Friday and Sunday (57 per cent) and 82 per cent died between the hours of 6pm and 6am.

Impairment

The research was carried out for the RSA by Dr Aoife Kervick, the authority’s policy and research analyst.

She said the results illustrated that it was not just drink drivers who are putting themselves and others at risk.

“The reality is that alcohol impairs you whether you are a driver or a pedestrian. Alcohol impairs your ability to track moving objects, to judge distance and time and that’s critical for pedestrians,” she said.

Dr Kervick said there needed to be greater awareness of the risks that pedestrians take when they consume alcohol.

The findings of the study will inform the design of an evidence-based pedestrian safety campaign next year.

She said the findings illustrated the need for pedestrians to ensure that they have a safe way home after consuming alcohol. She also pointed out that just two per cent of pedestrians who were killed on Irish roads were wearing a high-vis jacket at the time.

Almost one in 10 of those who were killed (9 per cent) were found to have been killed while lying in the road and 8 per cent were killed standing in the road.

Two-thirds of pedestrians on Irish roads who were killed were male. The research also found that the overwhelming majority of drivers (85 per cent) involved in fatal collisions with pedestrians were male.

The number of pedestrians killed on Irish roads has fallen by 59 per cent since 2006. Pedestrian deaths were 150 in 1990, 73 in 2006 and 31 last year.

The number of pedestrians killed last year was 20 per cent of the overall total of road deaths which was 158, the lowest figure on record.

Speaking at the RSA’s annual academic road safety lecture, RSA chair Liz O’Donnell said the fall in the number of road deaths generally in Ireland had been a success story though the RSA had a target of less than 120 deaths a year as a number that can be achieved.