31% of people killed in road accidents have alcohol in their system

Justin Kelly


Justin Kelly



Figures released today by An Garda Síochána has shown that 31% of people killed on our roads in 2014 had alcohol in their system at the time of their deaths. The preliminary findings of a new report, which examined the toxicology reports of those killed in road crashes in that year also revealed that 96% of motorists and motorcyclists found under the influence were male. were male.

Other findings of the report highlighted that: 2 out of 5 (40%) motorcyclists killed had a positive toxicology for alcohol, 28% of pedestrians killed had a positive toxicology for alcohol, and the average age for male drivers/motorcycle riders with a positive Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) was 38 years. 

The Gardaí have also revealed that there has been a 13% increase in ‘Driving Under the Influence’ arrests in 2017 so far, and March is the second most dangerous month of the year for alcohol related collisions.

The findings are being published ahead of the St. Patrick’s Festival period as the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána have renewed their appeal to all road users to act responsibly when travelling on the roads this weekend. In particular, drivers are being reminded that any amount of alcohol can impair driving. 

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Mr. Shane Ross TD said:

"While the findings of this report are very disappointing, I welcome their publication as they highlight the fact that we continue to have an unhealthy relationship in this country with alcohol and it’s spilling onto our roads. It’s further evidence, if it were needed, that action must be taken to stop people getting behind the wheel of a car or getting onto a motorcycle, having consumed alcohol."

The Minister also used this time of year to once appeal for cross party support for the new bill which he will introduce shortly, for the introduction of an automatic disqualification for all drivers found to have been drinking with a BAC of between 50mg and 80mg of alcohol in their blood.

Ms Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive of the RSA said:

"Although the St Patrick’s Festival is a period of national celebration, and we want people to have fun, we are reminding road users that March is a real danger zone for alcohol related road deaths. According to the RSA’s Pre-Crash Report on Alcohol published in June of last year, March accounts for 11% of alcohol related collisions, it’s the second most dangerous month of the year for alcohol related incidents.”

"Drink-driving destroys lives – at best, you could lose your licence but far worse, is the possibility of seriously injuring or killing someone on the roads. If you decide to go out, make a plan for getting home in advance; nominate a designated driver, use public transport or arrange a taxi to bring you to and from your destination," she added.

Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn, Roads Policing, An Garda Síochána, remarked:

"Over 1,500 people have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of an intoxicant since the beginning of the year. This represents a 13% increase in arrests compared to the same period last year. We would like to remind road-users that An Garda Síochána will be out in force over the St Patricks Day festival to monitor all high risk behaviour, including drink driving.”

"We want everyone to enjoy the St. Patricks Festival without the fear of meeting a driver that’s impaired. So this weekend, we ask you to also do your bit to support the local community and stop these drivers from putting lives at risk. If they don’t listen, phone the Gardai and report it, you might save a life,” Assistant Commissioner Finn concluded.

To raise awareness of the dangers of drink driving, the RSA and sporting legend Davy Fitzgerald have produced a social media campaign aimed at preventing young men from drink driving. The video targets young males aged 18 to 34 years and Davy Fitzgerald delivering a ‘half time dressing down’ for daring to drink drive. The video will be promoted online and through social media.


- A third (33%) of drivers / motorcycle riders who died in fatal crashes in 2014 had a positive toxicology for alcohol

- 35% of car drivers killed had a positive toxicology for alcohol

- 2 out of 5 (40%) motorcyclists killed had a positive toxicology for alcohol

- 28% of pedestrians killed had a positive toxicology for alcohol

- 96% of the drivers / motorcycle riders who had a positive toxicology were male

- The median age for male drivers / motorcycle riders with a positive Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) was 38 years

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