Saturday 24 September 2016

Almost two-in-every-five fatal crashes are alcohol related- new report

Published 01/06/2016 | 02:30

A garda speaks to a motorist at a traffic checkpoint (Stock photo)
A garda speaks to a motorist at a traffic checkpoint (Stock photo)

Almost two-in-every-five fatal crashes are alcohol related, a shocking new report will reveal today.

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It has looked in detail at the role alcohol played in fatal collisions between 2008 and 2012.

This is the third landmark report published this year, which follows a detailed analysis of data contained in Garda Forensic Fatal Collision Investigation Files in the five-year period.

It shows how there has been an increase in the number of alcohol-related fatal crashes. And it reveals how alcohol is a significant factor in driver, motorcyclist, passenger, pedestrian and cyclist deaths.

Today the RSA launches its joint road safety appeal ahead of the June Bank Holiday weekend with the gardai. It's a weekend that over the past nine years has resulted in 35 deaths and 85 serious injuries.

A worrying backdrop to this year's appeal is the fact that there have been more deaths on the road this year compared with the corresponding period for 2015.

This bank holiday period road-users are being urged to be aware of the dangers of alcohol and road-use.

At today's launch the RSA will publish the results of its Pre-Crash Report on Alcohol. This is the third landmark report published this year which follows a detailed analysis of data contained in Garda Forensic Fatal Collision Investigation Files between the years 2008 and 2012.

This new report will look in detail at the role alcohol played in fatal collisions in the five-year period.

The results are concerning. They point to the fact that there has been an increase in the number of alcohol-related fatal crashes. It will show that the presence of alcohol is a significant factor in driver, motorcyclist, passenger, pedestrian and cyclist deaths.

Read more: One-in-ten Irish people have gotten behind the wheel after drinking

A number of findings stand out. The most significant is that nearly two-in-every-five fatal crashes are alcohol related.

The number of motorcyclists killed and found to have alcohol in their system is a concern. The forensic files indicate that there was a spike in alcohol related motorcycle crashes on a Sunday afternoon, something we hadn't seen before.

Another finding was the fact that Cork tops the league table for alcohol-related fatal crashes. This follows a similar finding in our Vehicle Factors and Speeding reports. Co Cork has a serious road safety issue that needs to be addressed.

It will require all the authorities and stakeholders in Cork coming together to develop a comprehensive strategy to improve road safety in the county.

Read more: One-in-five of drivers admit to texting and phoning at the wheel

Almost 10pc of drink driving related fatalities occurred the morning after - between 8am and 11am. This confirms that the morning after remains a danger zone for drink driving.

Our advice for people heading out for a few drinks over the weekend is to plan ahead. Make sure you know how you're getting home, whether by taxi, with a friend or public transport.

Don't walk home if you're drunk. The report also indicates that a large proportion of pedestrians killed on our roads have consumed alcohol. It's a risk you shouldn't take.

Any amount of alcohol impairs your driving, so either leave the car at home and arrange alternative transport, or stick to the soft drinks. Whatever you do never, ever drink and drive.

Don't forget that you could still be over the limit the next morning, so take the necessary precautions. It takes roughly one hour for your body to get rid of one unit of alcohol which is a half pint or a standard glass of wine, so if you are drinking late into the night and getting to bed late the next morning, you may not be fit to drive until after lunchtime the next day.

It its worth remembering too that if you didn't get a good night's sleep, the impairing effects of the alcohol will be magnified.

It can be easy to make the wrong choice when you're out for a few drinks with your friends. So make the right choice before you head out for the night.

We want everyone to enjoy the long weekend without fear of meeting a drunk driver or pedestrian on the roads.

An average of 150 people are arrested each week for driving under the influence of an intoxicant.

The gardai have said they will be out on the roads over this weekend to monitor high-risk behaviour including drink driving. Don't be in next week's statistics.

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