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Five-year update on the occurrence of alcohol and other drugs in blood samples from drivers killed in road-traffic crashes in Sweden
Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Drug Research.
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Clinical Pharmacology. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
National Board for Forensic Medicine.
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Clinical Pharmacology. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
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
Abstract [en]

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.
Keyword [en]
Alcohol; Drugs; Driving; Crash statistics; Fatalities
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-53863DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2009.01.014ISI: 000265370900010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-53863DiVA: diva2:292414
Available from: 2010-02-06 Created: 2010-02-06 Last updated: 2017-12-12

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Jones, A WayneKugelberg, FredrikAhlner, Johan

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