Home > Medical Bureau of Road Safety annual report 2019.

Medical Bureau of Road Safety. (2020) Medical Bureau of Road Safety annual report 2019. Dublin: Medical Bureau of Road Safety.

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The Annual Report for 2019 presents a summary of the activities and performance of the Medical Bureau of Road Safety providing relevant and important information and data on driving under the influence of intoxicants and the Bureau’s continuing role in the Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020. The Bureau provides a high quality national forensic scientific and medical service in intoxicant detection and research. This plays an integral and central role in reducing deaths and injuries on Ireland’s roads which have seen a reduction in road traffic deaths per million of population to 28 in 2019, the second lowest rate in the European Union. The Bureau continues in partnership with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, An Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority as well as with other national and international bodies in the challenging endeavour to reach “Vision Zero” for road deaths and injuries.


The rollout of the new generation preliminary alcohol breath testing devices supplied to the Gardaí was completed in 2019 with 1,400 Dräger 7510 devices available for roadside alcohol detection. In the year, the preliminary drug testing programme at the roadside and in Garda Stations had a complement of 161 Dräger DrugTest 5000 devices in operation. Evidential alcohol breath testing instruments were available in 87 Garda stations nationwide.


The number of blood and urine specimens received for alcohol analysis increased by 25% over 2018 and for drug toxicology analysis increased by 50%. Evidential breath testing numbers decreased by 11% over 2018 figures. The significant increase in blood and urine specimens for analysis continued to challenge the resources of the Bureau but Quality Assurance with ISO accreditation was maintained for the large number of tests required and the Bureau participated in several Proficiency Testing Schemes. The number of blood and urine testing kits issued by the Bureau increased from 4,100 in 2018 to 6,134.


This report provides some detailed epidemiological data such as the mean blood, urine and breath alcohol levels detected (147mg/100ml, 183 mg/100ml and 45µg/100ml respectively) and the percentage of drivers with significant alcohol levels (32% for blood and urine and 45% for breath). Of the 3,230 blood and urine specimens tested for drugs, 2,375 (74% of toxicology specimens and 49% of all specimens received) were positive for at least one drug class on preliminary testing leading to a 34% overall increase in drug confirmation testing.

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