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Alcohol was a factor in 330 fatal road collisions in four years

There were 983 fatal collisions on Irish roads between 2008 and 2012.

Garda David Maguire and posed model Mark Adams being tested for drink driving in 2011.
Garda David Maguire and posed model Mark Adams being tested for drink driving in 2011.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

ALCOHOL WAS A factor in 38% of fatal road collisions between 2008 and 2012, a new report from the Road Safety Authority shows.

The report, which analysed data from the Garda Forensic Fatal Collision unit files, found that there were 983 fatal collisions on Irish roads between 2008 and 2012, claiming the lives of 1,077 people.

The forensic details of 867 fatal collisions were analysed to identify the cause of the collisions – of these, alcohol was a main contributory factor in 2 in 5 (330) collisions, claiming the lives of 286 people. A further 69 people were seriously injured.

The report found that of the 867 collisions analysed:

  • 38% of all fatal collisions involved a driver, motorcyclist, cyclist or pedestrian who had consumed alcohol
  • 29% of all fatal collisions involved a driver or motorcyclist who had consumed alcohol
  • 9% of all fatal collisions involved a pedestrian who had consumed alcohol

Of the 947 people killed in the 867 collisions analysed, alcohol was a contributory factor in: 

  • 38% of all driver deaths
  • 30% of all motorcyclist deaths
  • 47% of all pedestrian deaths
  • 42% of all passenger deaths
  • 86% of drivers and 51% of passengers not wearing seatbelt who had consumed alcohol were killed

Of the 330 alcohol related collisions, one in 10 of all driver alcohol related collisions occurred between 7am and 11am.

Ahead of the June bank holiday weekend, Transport Minister Shane Ross appealed to motorists not to drink and drive.

For some the temptation may be there but I would urge these people to think carefully about the choices they make. We know alcohol promotes risky and potentially life-threatening behaviour – not just among drivers, but among all road users.

Ross said that the report was “more than a wakeup call” for him and that the country had to question whether there were enough Garda checkpoints or whether RSA advertising was enough.

“We can’t allow this sort of situation to carry on.”

Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid of An Garda Síochána said that over 3,000 people had been arrested for drink-driving since the turn of the year.

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.

“So this weekend, members of An Garda Síochána will be out in force to ensure that those who are taking unnecessary risks are prevented from endangering others.”

Maggie Martin research manager at the RSA said:

“People have died in a very traumatic and horrible way as a result of alcohol and people have been left at home to pick up the pieces.

“These are not figures, they are people.”

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