Older pedestrians are at the greatest risk on Irish roads, according to research findings published by the Road Safety Authority.

The research, released as part of Irish Road Safety Week, examined pedestrian fatalities on Irish roads between 2008 and 2015.

It found that the majority of pedestrians were struck in the hours of darkness and 98% were not wearing any high visibility clothing.

The highest number of pedestrian fatalities was recorded in the 75+ age group.

The majority of fatalities were male.

Evidence from garda investigation files and coroner reports suggests that half of all pedestrians killed had consumed alcohol, especially those in rural areas. 

Policy and research analyst at the Road Safety Authority Dr Aoife Kervick said that one in two pedestrians had consumed alcohol prior to being involved in a fatal collision.

She told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that the early hours of Saturday and Sunday morning were high-risk periods.

Dr Kervick said: "What we found when we looked at this in-depth report on pedestrian fatalities over this eight-year period, one in two pedestrians had consumed alcohol prior to being involved in a fatal collision. And of those, a further half had consumed alcohol to quite high levels, more than four times the legal driving limit.

"And of those, there was a proportion that had consumed alcohol seven or eight times the legal driving limit which is causing serious, serious impairment.

"Between 12am and 5am on Saturdays and Sundays emerged as a key high risk period. That is particularly notable because it's a time of very low traffic volume."

The research indicated that there has been a significant decrease in the number of pedestrians dying on Irish roads over the past number of decades.

So far this year, 27 pedestrians have died on the roads compared to the 150 pedestrians who lost their lives in 1990.

CEO of the Road Safety Authority Moyagh Murdock told the Annual Academic Road Safety Lecture that the numbers of pedestrians dying on Irish roads had decreased by 60% over the past ten years.

She said: "Over the last decade, there has been a 60% reduction in the number of pedestrians dying on our roads.

"Despite this further progress has to be made as one in five people killed on the roads is a pedestrian.

"Pedestrians are one of the most vulnerable of our road users and today’s research findings will help us understand the factors which contribute to unnecessary pedestrian deaths."