Random breath testing 'led to fall in road deaths'
The introduction of random breath testing and the striking images on the 'Crashed Lives' television adverts helped reduce road traffic deaths, according to a new study.
The findings by the HSE's Health and Wellbeing Unit revealed road traffic deaths fell by 25 per quarter after random breath testing was introduced.
And three months after the 'Crashed Lives' campaign was aired - featuring people talking about the loss of loved ones in car crashes - the number of reported fatalities also fell.
Researchers looked at admissions to hospital from 2005 to 2013. The average age of patients admitted as a result of road traffic collisions was 33.
During this time, road traffic accident-related admissions fell by 37.4pc. However, admissions of cyclists went up by 26.3pc, the Summer Scientific Meeting at the Royal College of Physicians was told.
Location mapping showed that fatal road traffic collisions were concentrated in urban centres and surrounding areas.
The study said measures such as random breath testing and the 'Crashed Lives' television adverts impacted on driver behaviour and had the most persistent effect on lowering road traffic collisions. Road safety measures should continue to target the young, it found.
Among the trends highlighted were an increase in cyclists and the impact commuting had on collisions, which might require more analysis.
Meanwhile, a separate study by the unit said the flu season this winter was severe, with more outbreaks than 2009, when swine flu struck.
The majority of outbreaks affected the elderly.