2016 News

01 June 2016

Alcohol a Factor in 38% of Collisions Between 2008 and 2012

366 people lost their lives and a further 69 were seriously injured in fatal crashes where alcohol was a contributory factor

A new report from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has revealed that between 2008 and 2012, alcohol was a contributory factor in 38% of all fatal collisions. The report, the third and largest in a series of landmark reports analysed An Garda Síochána Forensic Fatal Collision Investigation files in order to identify the main contributory factors in collisions.

983 fatal collisions occurred 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 330 collisions, claiming the lives of 366 people.  A further 69 people were seriously injured.

The report also 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:

  • 1 in 10 of all driver alcohol related collisions occurred between 7am and 11am.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, TD, said: “This important report highlights that Ireland continues 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. This is particularly important as we approach the high risk bank holiday weekend. 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.”

Ms. Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority said: "Alcohol has played a significant role in road traffic collisions in Ireland. An RSA report from 2011 showed that alcohol was a confirmed contributory factor in 15% of fatal collisions involving a driver or motorcyclist who had consumed alcohol between 2005 and 2007. The study published today shows that this has risen to 20%. This is deeply worrying. 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.”

Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid, An Garda Síochána said: “Over 3,000 people have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of an intoxicant since the beginning of the year.  We wish to remind road-users that An Garda Síochána will be out on the roads over the bank holiday weekend to monitor all high risk behaviour, including drink driving.” He also reminded drivers that “The powers of An Garda Síochána enable us to breath test any driver who has 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. 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.” Concluded Chief Superintendent Reid.

Ahead of the June Bank Holiday weekend, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána are appealing to road-users to stay safe on the roads as figures show that between 2007 and 2015, 35 people were killed and 85 were seriously injured on Irish roads over the June Bank Holiday period.

The RSA and An Garda Síochána have the following advice for people heading out for a few drinks over the bank holiday weekend:

  • Plan ahead. Make sure you know how you’re getting home, whether by taxi, with a designated driver or public transport.
  • Don’t walk home if you’re drunk. Half of pedestrians killed on our roads have consumed alcohol.
  • Never ever drink and drive. Any amount of alcohol impairs your driving so either leave the car at home and arrange alternative transport, or stick to the soft drinks.
  • 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 got to bed late and didn’t get a good night’ sleep, the effect of the alcohol will be more significant.
  • 1 in 10 drink driving arrests happen between 8am and 2pm so if you have had a heavy night out, leave the car at home. 
  • Passengers are reminded to wear seatbelts and to understand that there is a close link between alcohol consumption and the non-wearing of seatbelts in fatality statistics

To date this year (1 June 2016), 74 people have been killed on Irish roads, an increase of 16 fatalities compared to the same date last year.

For further information, please contact:

RSA Communications Office: 096 25008
RSA Communications Manager, Brian Farrell: 086 388 1009
An Garda Síochána Press Office: 01 666 2071

The Pre-Crash Report on Alcohol also revealed that:

  • Of the 286 people killed in alcohol -related collisions, 169 were drivers, 25 were motorcyclists, 83 were passengers , 8 were pedestrians and one cyclist
  • 89% of drivers were male, and almost half (43%) of the drivers who had consumed alcohol were aged between 16 and 24 years.
  • 222 motorists who had consumed alcohol, 217 were deemed to have caused the collision
  • 50% of all drivers with a confirmed presence of alcohol were over four times over the current drink driving limit
  • 10% of all driver and motorcyclist alcohol related deaths occur between 8am and 11am
  • All of the 28 motorcyclists who had consumed alcohol were deemed to be culpable for the collision.
  • 57% of motorcyclists who had consumed alcohol were between 25 and 34 years of age
  • A motorcyclist is more likely to be involved in an alcohol related fatal crash on a Sunday, between 5 and 6pm
  • Overall, of all of the 196 passengers who were killed over the 5 year period 42% were killed in a collision where alcohol was a contributory factor
  • Weekends were a high risk period for alcohol-related collisions, and night time between 8pm and 4am
  • The counties where alcohol featured most as a contributory factor in collisions were counties Cork (10.6%), Galway (9.7%), Dublin (7.9%) and Donegal (7.6%)
  • 57% of drivers who had consumed alcohol prior to collision were not wearing a seatbelt, and of passengers recorded as not wearing  seatbelt, 56% had consumed alcohol
  • 51% % of pedestrians over 17 years old killed in a collision where alcohol was a contributory factor.  This includes the level of alcohol of both drivers and pedestrians.
  • 49% of pedestrians over 17 years old killed in a collision where they themselves had consumed alcohol.

A 2015 survey of driver behaviour conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes for the RSA and published in January 2016, found that 8% of drivers surveyed had admitted driving under the influence of alcohol in the past 18 months. The survey also showed that worryingly, 40% of Irish motorists had consumed three drinks or more the last time they walked home after drinking.

*Table 1. June Bank Holiday Casualty Statistics 2007 to 2015

Year Killed Seriously Injured KSI
2007 4 15 19
2008 9 9 18
2009 5 6 11
2010 3 5 8
2011 1 18 19
2012 6 11 17
2013 5 5 10
2014* 2 11 13
2015* 0 5 5
*provisional 35 85 120


See here to download the Pre Crash Report on Alcohol

To view the presentation from Maggie Martin, RSA Research Manager please click here

To view the presentation from Moyagh Murdock, CEO, RSA please click here

To download the info graphic of the results of the report click here  



Press contact

Media & Communications
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Co. Mayo
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  • 096 25008