Fatal and Serious (KSI) Road Traffic Collisions caused by Drink Driving, Northern Ireland 2013-2017 has been published today

Date published: 08 August 2019

Fatal and Serious (KSI) Road Traffic Collisions caused by Drink Driving, Northern Ireland 2013-2017 is now available. This bespoke analysis was commissioned by Promotions and Outreach Branch, Department for Infrastructure, and supplements the NI Road Safety Strategy (NIRSS) to 2020 Annual Statistical Report.

DRD statistics publication

The publication is available on the Department’s website at: https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/topics/statistics-and-research/road-safety-research

Key points

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.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Northern Ireland Drink Driving Problem Profile, 2013-2017 is the seventh in the problem profile series.
  2. The majority of the data within the report derives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Road Traffic Collision Statistics, and is typically based on the period 1st January 2013 to 31st December 2017. The report first looks at the overall trend in drink driving KSI casualty numbers from 2002 until 2017 with a rolling five year trend of drink driving KSI casualties presented alongside that of all KSI casualties. The age, gender and road user type of drink drive KSI casualties and the drivers responsible for these collisions are also profiled. Further analysis includes the times when drink driving collisions typically occur, the speed limit of road on which they occur and the proportion that were single vehicle collisions. There is also a section on maps which shows the number of drink driving collisions by District council and the rate of KSI casualties per 100,000 population between 2013 and 2017.
  3. Aside from road traffic collisions, the number of breath tests (both preliminary and evidential) carried out by the PSNI and the number of people referred for prosecution for a drink driving offence by age and gender are also included. In addition, people’s attitudes to drink driving as revealed by the results of the 2016/17 Continuous Household Survey are presented.
  4. The Department will use the information presented in this publication to support policy development. The report provides departmental officials with the current picture of drink driving casualties and drivers responsible, and provides evidence to allow them to consider the best ways to try to reduce casualty numbers.
  5. Further information and electronic copies of the Northern Ireland Drink Driving Problem Profile Northern Ireland, 2013-2017 are available at: https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/topics/statistics-and-research/road-safety-research
  6. For more information relating to this publication, including additional analysis, breakdowns of data, or alternative formats please contact:
Analysis, Statistics and Research Branch,
Room 4.13c,
Clarence Court,
10 - 18 Adelaide Street,
Town Parks
  1. For media enquiries please contact the DfI Press Office 028 9054 0007 or email press.office@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk. Out of hours please call 028 9037 8110.

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