Monday 24 October 2016

Revealed: How many people were killed in four years as a result of drink driving

Paul Melia, Environment Editor

Published 01/06/2016 | 12:56

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

ALMOST 290 people were killed and another 69 seriously injured on the roads between 2008 and 2012 as a result of drink driving.

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New analysis from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) shows that almost half of all drivers found to have drank before a crash were four times over the drink driving limit.

It also reveals that younger motorists were more likely to have consumed vast quantities of alcohol before driving.

The ‘Fatal Collisions 2008-2012 – Alcohol as a Factor’ report published today examined 867 fatal collisions in the period to determine the role that alcohol played in fatalities.

It used completed Garda investigation files, and found that alcohol was a contributory factor in 330, or 38pc of collisions.

Of the collisions analysed, the report also found:

·         38pc of all fatal collisions involved a driver, motorcyclist, cyclist or pedestrian who had consumed alcohol

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

·         Of the 947 people killed in the 867 collisions analysed, 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.

The report 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.

Worrying, the report also notes that many of the deaths arise the ‘morning after’. One in ten fatals were between 7am and 11am.

The report says the evidence suggests that a “high level” of drink driving is still evident in Ireland.

RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdock said that a previous study from 2011 suggested that alcohol was a contributory factor in 15pc of all fatal collisions. This has since risen.

“This is deeply worrying,” she said. “While the majority of people in this country do the right thing, it is shocking to see that alcohol is still a significant factor.

“It shows that while we all understand in theory that we shouldn’t drink and drive or walk home drunk, we still have not fully eradicated the practice in Ireland, and even more harrowing was the sheer number of young people – young men in particular – who lost their lives on our roads as a result of alcohol.”

Transport Minister Shane Ross said the report highlighted that Ireland continued to have a problem with alcohol and road use.

“The consequences are having a devastating effect in our communities. We must continue educating drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and passengers about the very real dangers and consequences of making the bad decision to use the road after consuming alcohol.”

Figures from Garda Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid show that more than 3,000 people have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence since the beginning of the year.  He said that Gardai would be on the roads over the bank holiday weekend, and would breath-test any motorist found to have committed a road traffic offence.

“We want everyone to enjoy the long weekend without fear of meeting a drunk or dangerous driver on the roads. Drink driving is one of the most selfish and dangerous things you can do - not only are you putting your own life at risk, you’re putting other people’s lives at risk,” he said.

Between 2007 and 2015, 35 people were killed and 85 were seriously injured on Irish roads over the June Bank Holiday period.

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