Five-year update on the occurrence of alcohol and other drugs in blood samples from drivers killed in road-traffic crashes in Sweden
2009 (English)In: Forensic Science International, ISSN 0379-0738, E-ISSN 1872-6283, Vol. 186, no 01-Mar, 56-62 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
According to statistics provided by the Swedish National Road Administration (Vagverket). a total of 1403 drivers were killed in road-traffic crashes in Sweden between 2003 and 2007. Forensic autopsies were performed in similar to 97% of all deaths and specimens of blood and urine were sent for toxicological analysis. In 60% of cases (N = 835) the toxicology results were negative and 83% of these victims were men. The blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) was above the legal limit for driving (greater than0.2 g/L) in 22% of cases (N = 315) at mean, median and highest concentrations of 1.7 g/L, 1.7 g/L and 4.9 g/L, respectively. The proportions of male to female drivers with BAC greater than 0.2 g/L were 93% vs 7% compared with 83% vs 17% for those with drugs other than alcohol in blood. Drivers with a punishable BAC were over-represented in single vehicle crashes compared with multiple vehicle crashes (67% vs 33%). The opposite held for drivers who had taken a prescription drug (39% vs 61%) and also for drug-negative cases (31% vs 69%). Drugs other than alcohol were identified in 253 cases (18%); illicit drugs only in 39 cases (2.8%), both licit and illicit in 28 cases (2.0%) and in 186 cases (13.3%) one or more therapeutic drugs were present. Amphetamine was the most common illicit drug identified at mean, median and highest concentrations of 1.5 mg/L, 1.1 mg/L and 5.0 mg/L, respectively (N = 39). Blood specimens contained a wide spectrum of pharmaceutical products (mean 2.4 drugs/person), comprising sedative-hypno tics (N = 93), opiates/opioids (N = 69) as well non-scheduled substances, such as paracetamol (N = 78) and antidepressants (N = 93). The concentrations of these substances in blood were mostly in the therapeutic range. Despite an appreciable increase (12-fold) in number of arrests made by the police for drug-impaired driving after a zero-tolerance law was introduced (July 1999), alcohol still remains the psychoactive substance most frequently identified in the blood of drivers killed in road-traffic crashes. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 186, no 01-Mar, 56-62 p.
Alcohol; Drugs; Driving; Crash statistics; Fatalities
National CategoryMedical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-53863DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2009.01.014ISI: 000265370900010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-53863DiVA: diva2:292414