Wednesday 7 December 2016

Drink a factor in half of pedestrian deaths

286 people killed over five years in alcohol carnage on our roads

Published 02/06/2016 | 02:30

The analysis revealed that younger motorists, particularly men, were more likely to have consumed alcohol before driving Photo: Gerry Mooney
The analysis revealed that younger motorists, particularly men, were more likely to have consumed alcohol before driving Photo: Gerry Mooney

Almost half of all pedestrians killed on the roads had consumed alcohol at the time of their deaths, a new report reveals.

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New research shows that alcohol played a role in four in every 10 fatal road collisions over a five-year period, resulted in the deaths of 286 people and left another 69 with serious injuries.

The 'Fatal Collisions 2008-2012 - Alcohol as a Factor' report from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) examined 867 fatal collisions to determine the role that alcohol played.

It found that almost half of all pedestrians (49pc) had consumed alcohol before they died. Some fell asleep on the road or wandered onto the carriageway.

Some 9pc of all fatal collisions involved a pedestrian who had consumed alcohol.

The high prevalence of alcohol in fatalities was described as "shocking" by Transport Minister Shane Ross, who questioned the effectiveness of gardaí and the RSA in dealing with the issue of drink-driving.

He said anecdotal evidence suggested that there were not enough garda checkpoints and asked if advertising campaigns by the RSA were working. He also said question marks over whether drink-driving laws were "tough enough".

Mr Ross added that the increase in traffic volumes on the road since 2012 meant that the problem was probably under-represented. He added that there was "absolutely no cause for any smug satisfaction about the safety of our roads".

The analysis showed that almost half of all drivers found to have drunk before a crash were four times over the alcohol limit.

It also reveals that younger motorists, particularly men, were more likely to have consumed alcohol before driving.

An analysis of Garda investigation files found that alcohol was a contributory factor in 330, or 38pc, of the 867 collisions examined.

It also found:

n 29pc involved a driver or motorcyclist who had consumed alcohol, while one in 11 (9pc) involved a pedestrian who had consumed alcohol.

n Alcohol was a contributory factor in almost 40pc of driver deaths, 30pc of motorcyclist deaths, almost half (47pc) of pedestrian deaths and 42pc of passenger deaths.

n It also reveals that 86pc of drivers and 51pc of passengers who had consumed alcohol but were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision were killed.

Worryingly, it also notes that many of the deaths arose on the 'morning after' a night's drinking. One in 10 such deaths occurred between 7am and 11am.

The report says the evidence suggests that a "high level" of drink driving is still evident.

Irish Independent

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