Over a third of Irish driver fatalities test positive for alcohol

Over A Third Of Irish Driver Fatalities Test Positive For Alcohol Over A Third Of Irish Driver Fatalities Test Positive For Alcohol
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James Cox

Research published by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) reveals that the presence of alcohol is still a major factor in fatalities on Irish roads.

These findings are being shared ahead of the St Patrick’s Day period as the RSA and An Garda Síochána appeal to all road users not to drink and drive.

The Road Deaths and Alcohol 2013-20171 report focuses on road user fatalities who had a positive toxicology for alcohol at the time of the collision.

The research reveals that, of the 600 road user fatalities with a toxicology result available, 219 or 36.5 per cent had a positive toxicology for alcohol.

Of the 219 road user fatalities with a positive toxicology for alcohol, 135 or 62 per cent were drivers/motorcycle drivers.

Speaking ahead of the Bank Holiday, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Ms Hildegarde Naughton said: “The findings of this report are very concerning. I am particularly struck by the high levels of alcohol being detected. Drink-driving is an unacceptable behaviour that puts every road user in danger.


“We will all be celebrating St Patrick’s Day at home again this year, if you are drinking alcohol be aware that you may be unknowingly consuming larger measures than if you were being served in a bar or restaurant. This will increase the amount of time it will take to eliminate alcohol from your body, and you could still be over the limit and unsafe to drive the morning after. Drink-driving is drink-driving, no matter what time of the day or day of the week.”

Mr Sam Waide, CEO of the RSA, said: “While attitudes to drink-driving have changed greatly over the past decade and the vast majority of drivers do not drink and drive, this research demonstrates that there are still those who persist in this dangerous behaviour. Of the drivers/motorcycle drivers killed who had a positive toxicology for alcohol, 92 per cent were male and 82 per cent were under 45 years of age.

“Almost 70 per cent were found to have had blood alcohol concentrations that were greater than150mg/ml. That’s over three times the limit for ordinary drivers and over seven times higher than the limit for learner and professional drivers. My message to anyone who gets behind the wheel of a car after drinking alcohol is to realise that your decision could lead to very serious consequences. You could lose your licence, something that may be vital for your work, but far worse is the possibility of injuring or killing someone else on the road."

Assistant Commissioner, Paula Hilman, Roads Policing, said: “If you drive after consuming alcohol or drugs your driving will be impaired, your reaction times are slower and you will put yourself and other road users at increased risk of injury. Since the beginning of Covid Gardaí on the frontline have been supporting communities and keeping people safe, Gardaí will be working on St. Patrick’s Day, with checkpoints nationwide engaging with people ensuring that travel restrictions are adhered to.”

A total of seven people have been killed and 46 people seriously injured between the 16th and 18th of March in the period 2016-2020.

To date in 2021, a total of 20 people have died on Irish roads, 17 less than the same period in 2020.

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