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Home > Fatal and serious (KSI) road traffic collisions caused by drink driving, Northern Ireland 2013-2017.

Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. (2019) Fatal and serious (KSI) road traffic collisions caused by drink driving, Northern Ireland 2013-2017. Belfast: Department for Infrastructure.

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This statistical brief reviews PSNI road traffic collision data from 2013 to 2017 to identify any emerging issues regarding drink drive collisions in relation to when and where these occur and to examine the profile of those drivers responsible and the KSI casualties involved.

Trend information:
• Drink and drug driving KSI casualty numbers have fallen over time from the 196 recorded in 2002 to a low of 50 in 2013 (a decrease of 74%). Since then numbers have started to climb with the 84 recorded in 2017 representing a 68% increase from the 2013 figure.
• Examining a rolling five year average, there has been a clear downward trend from the start of the series, and although the rise in drink driving KSI casualties in 2016 and 2017 has pushed the average up for the first time, the 73 recorded for 2013 to 2017 is still 46% lower than the 135 baseline average recorded for 2004 to 2008.
• The number of drink & drug drive KSI casualties have fallen further than that of all KSI casualties (54% reduction compared with 42%, respectively). The five year rolling trend shows that the two trends track each other closely until 2008-2012, when drink-drive KSI casualties began to reduce at a faster rate than the overall total.

Drink driver and KSI casualty profile. In 2013-2017:
• Drink drivers were predominantly male accounting for 91% of those drivers responsible. Male drivers were therefore overrepresented in drink drive collisions; the equivalent gender breakdown for all fatal and serious collisions was 72% male.
• Drivers under the age of 50 were also over represented in drink driving KSI collisions compared with that for all fatal and serious collisions. The 25 to 34 age group especially were over represented, with this age group accounting for 32% of those drivers responsible in a drink drive KSI collision compared with 22% for all causation factors.
• There were 327 KSI casualties resulting from drink driving in 2013-2017. They were mostly male (79%), and a third were from the 16 to 24 age group. In fact, 84% of drink drive KSI casualties were aged between 16 and 49; in comparison, the age range 16 to 49 accounted for 60% of all KSI casualties.
• The vast majority of drink drive KSI casualties were car users (281, or 86%). Of these, 182 were car drivers and 99 were car passengers.
• Analysis by time of day reveals that drink driving KSI collisions were more likely to occur in the evening and early hours of the morning, with over half of these (52%) being recorded between 9pm and 4am. Saturday and Sunday were also the days when these were most likely to occur, with collisions occurring at the weekend accounting for more than half (53%) the number of drink driving KSI collisions.
• The majority of fatal and serious collisions caused by drink-driving occurred on rural roads, with 151 out of the 246 (61%) occurring on a road with a speed limit greater than 40 miles per hour (excluding motorways and dual carriageways). This compares with the 49% of all fatal and serious collisions that occur on rural roads, meaning these roads were overrepresented for drink drive collisions.
• Single vehicle collisions were also highly over represented with three fifths of driver/rider alcohol KSI collisions involving a single vehicle only. In comparison, less than a quarter (24%) of all fatal and serious collisions were single vehicle collisions.
• In terms of District Council, Newry and Mourne had the most drink driving KSI collisions with 35, while Fermanagh and Omagh had both the highest number of fatal drink drive collisions (ten) and the highest rate of KSI casualties per 100,000 population with 7.4.
• Approximately one in ten drivers who were required to provide a breath sample either failed a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) or refused to provide a sample, with the highest proportion of fails or refusals occurring at the weekend and the early hours of the morning. Those who subsequently failed the evidential breath test and who were referred for prosecution were mostly male (both 83%) and the highest proportion by age group were those aged between 25 and 34 (30% and 31% respectively). The pattern of police enforcement over the period closely follows time of day/day of week that drink driving collisions occurred and the proportion by gender and age of those drivers responsible.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
Intervention Type
Harm reduction, Crime prevention
August 2019
Department for Infrastructure
Corporate Creators
Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
Place of Publication

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