Belfast Telegraph

Road deaths linked to drink and drugs rise

Report finds more males drive under influence

The number of people killed or seriously injured in road collisions in Northern Ireland caused by drink or drugs is on the increase
The number of people killed or seriously injured in road collisions in Northern Ireland caused by drink or drugs is on the increase

By Gillian Halliday

The number of people killed or seriously injured in road collisions in Northern Ireland caused by drink or drugs is on the increase.

A total of 84 such incidents were recorded in 2017 - a rise of 68% on six years ago, when it reached a 15-year low (50 incidents).

Men are far more likely to drink-drive - 90% of those caught were male.

The figures are disclosed in a statistics report published yesterday. It notes that the number of killed or seriously injured (KSI) collisions is well below the 192 incidents recorded in 2002.

Since 2014, however, the number has increased.

That year 78 such collisions took place, with 72 in 2015 and 84 in 2017.

The report, published by the Department for Infrastructure, concludes that while there appears to be an upward trend, KSI collisions caused by drink or drugs is still on average 46% lower than it was in 2002.

According to the latest statistics, male drink-drivers account for 91% of all KSI collisions between 2013 to 2017, compared to 72% overall for fatal and serious crashes.

Broken down by age, statistics between 2013 and 2017 reveal that it is predominantly drivers under the age of 50 that are more likely to be involved where drink was involved.

In particular, the 25 to 34 age group accounted for 32% of those drivers responsible in a KSI collision that was caused by drink-driving.

During the five-year period, there were 327 KSI casualties resulting from drink-driving in 2013-2017 of which 79% were male, while a third were from the 16 to 24 age group.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of drink-drive KSI casualties were car users - 281 between 2013 and 2017 - of which 182 were motorists and the rest passengers.

Drink-driving deaths or casualties are more likely to take place between 9pm and 4am than at any other time, with 52% recorded during that time frame.

These collisions increase in number at weekends, with 53% recorded on Saturdays and Sundays.

Rural areas witnessed the majority of drink-drive KSI collisions, with 151 out of the 246 (61%) occurring on roads with a speed limit greater than 40mph, excluding motorways and dual carriageways - compared to 49% of all countryside fatal and serious crashes.

Single vehicles account for three-fifths of all drink-drive KSI collisions. In comparison, less than a quarter (24%) of all fatal and serious collisions were single-vehicle crashes.

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