Drink has impact on 75pc of road deaths during small hours
Drink-driving is a factor in three-quarters of road deaths during 'off peak' hours between 10pm and 6am, new research has revealed.
The findings, from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) in advance of the October bank holiday, also show more than one in three drivers killed during this time are under 25 and nearly half are between 25 and 44.
As many as six in 10 passengers who lost their lives were aged just 18 to 24.
Most of the crashes which were investigated between 2014 and 2018 were single-vehicle incidents.
Men made up the majority of drivers, passengers and pedestrians killed.
RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdock said despite the number of cars on the road being at their lowest in number during these hours, more than a quarter of fatal collisions and 17pc of serious injury smashes happened during off-peak hours.
"Young males are over-represented and three-quarters of fatalities had a positive toxicology for alcohol," she added.
Chief Superintendent Paul Cleary, of the Roads Policing section of An Garda Siochana, said patterns mirrored research on 20 to 40-year-old males arrested for drink-driving.
"Unaccompanied learner permit holders also feature in our data, with almost 2,100 vehicles impounded from high-risk, inexperienced drivers since the legislation changed," he said.
"Drivers choose to speed, not wear a safety belt, be distracted or drive intoxicated."
So far this year, 118 people have been killed or injured on the roads - four more than the same period last year.
Some 46 people were killed or seriously injured in October bank holiday collisions between 2012 and 2017.
Transport Minister Shane Ross 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."
A study from the Health Research Board shows most alcohol-related incidents are instigated by low and moderate-risk drinkers who indulge in binges.
Adverse effects from drinking impact on finances, health, work, friendships and home life and can result in accidents and being stopped by gardai.