Garda alcohol checkpoints should be “maximised” between 10pm and 6am to reduce the high number of road fatalities where alcohol is a major factor, the Road Safety Authority has urged.
It emerged that alcohol was present in 75% of fatalities that occurred off-peak (10pm-6am) between 2013 and 2016 and young males are over-represented.
The RSA focussed on 494 road user fatalities where there was a toxicology result available for analysis.
“Despite traffic volumes being at their lowest, 27% of fatal collisions and 17% of serious injury collisions occurred during off-peak hours,” said RSA chief executive, Moyagh Murdock.
“Continued education and enforcement are needed to target those most vulnerable groups, namely, young male drivers, young male passengers and male pedestrians,” she said.
Men made up 87% of drivers, 73% of passengers and 87% of pedestrians killed on Irish roads during off-peak hours.
The age profile of drivers and passengers killed during off-peak hours is considerably younger than those killed during peak hours.
The RSA's analysis shows that 37% of drivers killed during off-peak hours were aged under 25 and almost half (47%) were aged 25 to 44.
Also, 61% of passengers killed during off-peak hours were aged 18 to 24.
The RSA found that 69% of off-peak collisions took place on rural roads and that seven out of 10 fatal collisions were single-vehicle collisions.
“As three-quarters of off-peak fatalities had a positive toxicology for alcohol, alcohol checkpoints during off-peak hours should be maximised,” the RSA urges.
“Education initiatives on the risks of drink-driving and walking home must continue,” it adds.
Dublin, Donegal and Louth were the counties with the highest number of fatal collisions that occurred during off-peak hours between 2014 and 2018.
Chief Superintendent Paul Cleary, who is responsible for roads' policing, said their arrest data for intoxicated driving mirrored the RSA research - they were aged between 20 to 40 and mostly male.
“Many are detected multiple times over the legal limit,” he said.
This year, to date, 118 people have died on the roads, which is four more than on the same period last year.
A breakdown of the fatalities shows that 61 were drivers, 14 were passengers, 21 were pedestrians, 14 were motorcyclists and seven were cyclists.
During the year there have been 829 serious injury collisions.
Latest garda statistics show a 6% increase in the number of motorists found to be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol this year – 6,041 detections compared to 5,719 last year.
There were 46 people killed or seriously injured in October bank holiday collisions between 2012 and 2017.