Let’s stay fatality free – and sober – on SA roads this long weekend

25 January, 2024

RAA is reminding road users not to drink and drive this long weekend, as crash data reveals one third of fatal crashes in South Australia involve drugs or alcohol.

Between 2018-2022, a tragic 151 lives lost on SA roads involved either an illegal blood alcohol level or drugs in the system of someone involved in the crash – meaning 33% of all lives lost were in part due to drugs or alcohol.

This proportion spikes among young-to-middle-aged drivers (20-49 year olds), of which 53% of driver or motorcyclist deaths involved an intoxicated driver or rider.

Very young drivers (16-19 yo) and older drivers (50+) are generally involved in fewer fatal and serious crashes where someone is intoxicated.

RAA Senior Manager Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain said the data showed how easily we could reduce the number of lives lost on our roads if South Aussies simply didn’t drive or ride when they have been drinking or taking drugs.

“There’s never any reason to risk someone’s life by jumping behind the wheel or handlebars when you’re intoxicated,” Mr Mountain said.

“What this crash data shows is that one third of the lives lost on our roads could be avoided altogether if we all just stayed off the roads when we’re under the influence.

“Unsurprisingly, the rate of drunk or drug-affected drivers contributing to crashes spikes on weekends, when the number of fatal crashes involving drugs or alcohol jumps by 94% compared to weekday average.

Alcohol or drugs are involved in one third of fatal crashes in South Australia

“This highlights the need for many people to re-consider their driving habits on the weekend – and for their friends and family to call them out if they have the opportunity.

“This long weekend, it’s imperative that we treat the road with the respect it deserves, and don’t get behind the wheel or handlebars unless we’re certain we’re below the legal limit.”

The crash data shows 31 lives lost in metropolitan Adelaide (41% of lives lost) involved drugs or alcohol between 2018-2022, compared with 72 in regional South Australia (31%).

Mr Mountain said between 2018-2022, there were no  driver or rider lives lost due to alcohol or drugs in the Adelaide CBD or North Adelaide, with most occurring in the outer suburbs or regional SA.

Northern Adelaide recorded the highest number of intoxicated drivers or riders involved in fatal crashes with 15, followed by the Limestone Coast (13) and Barossa/Lower North (12).

“The take-out message is that so many of these tragedies are completely avoidable, if more of us take the responsibility that comes with sharing the road more seriously.”

2018 – 2022 driver and motorcyclist lives lost