Gardaí carrying out high visibility patrols and checkpoints this Bank Holiday weekend

Alcohol is a major factor in fatalities between 10pm and 6am

Kilkenny People reporter

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Don't drink and drive this bank holiday weekend.

This October bank holiday weekend Gardaí will carry out high visibility patrols and checkpoints across the roads network and are appealing to motorists not to drive under the influence of an intoxicant and to reduce speed.

This weekend’s enforcement activities will specifically target and focus on off-peak hours (10pm to 6am) where recent studies have shown that 75% of fatalities were found to return positive toxicology results for alcohol. 

Speaking ahead of the Bank Holiday, Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, said: “Driving during off-peak hours presents its own risks. However, the same advice applies regardless of when you are on the road – you need to slow down, belt up, don’t use the phone while driving, never drink and drive, or drive while fighting sleep behind the wheel. I would urge all drivers to consider their behaviour not just this Bank Holiday weekend but every time they use the road whether that is midday or midnight.”

The RSA analysis looked at off-peak fatal collisions over a five-year period (2014-2018), to highlight when and where off-peak collisions are occurring, and to review the road user profile of those killed late at night and in the early hours of the morning.

Seven in ten fatal collisions occurring during off peak hours, not involving pedestrians, were single vehicle collisions, meaning no other car was involved.

Men are over-represented in off-peak fatalities making up 87% of drivers, 73% of passengers and 87% of pedestrians killed on Irish roads between 10pm and 6am.

The age profile of drivers and passengers killed during off-peak hours is considerably younger than those killed during peak hours - 37% of drivers killed during off-peak hours were aged under 25, and almost half (47%) were aged 25-44, 61% of passengers killed during off-peak hours were aged 18-24.

Meanwhile 75% of fatalities between the hours of 10pm and 6am (off-peak) had a positive toxicology for alcohol1.

Speaking at yesterday’s media briefing Chief Superintendent Paul Cleary said, "This bank holiday weekend we want to keep people safe on our roads. Gardaí will be out in force with high visibility patrols and checkpoints and we would be appealing to people not to drive under the influence of an intoxicant or in excess of the speed limit. Our enforcement activity this weekend will be data driven and is based on research. We are working closely with our partners in the RSA to ensure people are safe”.

Moyagh Murdock, CEO, Road Safety Authority, said: “Despite traffic volumes being at their lowest, 27% of fatal collisions and 17% of serious injury collisions occurred during off peak hours. Road traffic collisions that happen late at night and into the early hours differ in key ways to those that happen during the day in two respects: young males are overrepresented and 75% of fatalities had a positive toxicology for alcohol. Continued education and enforcement are needed to target those most vulnerable groups namely young male drivers, young male passengers and male pedestrians.”

Chief Superintendent Paul Cleary, Roads Policing, An Garda Síochána, said: “Our arrest data mirrors the RSA research in that 20-40 year olds, mostly male, are the ones arrested most for intoxicated driving. Many are detected multiple times over the legal limit. Unaccompanied learner permit holders also feature in our data, with almost 2,100 vehicles impounded from high risk, inexperienced drivers since the legislation changed. Drivers choose to speed, not wear a safety belt, be distracted or drive intoxicated. Make the simple and safe choice to always drive safely and protect yourself and others around you.”

A total of 46 people have been killed or seriously injured in October Bank Holiday collisions between 2012-2017.

To date in 2019 a total of 118 people have died on the roads, which is four more than up to the same period in 2018.

For more information visit www.rsa.ie