Prevalence of alcohol and other drugs and the concentrations in blood of drivers killed in road traffic crashes in Sweden
2014 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1403-4948, E-ISSN 1651-1905, Vol. 42, no 2, 177-183 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Background: Drunk or drug-impaired drivers represent a major public health and societal problem worldwide. Because over 95% of drivers killed on the roads in Sweden are autopsied, reliable information is available about the use of alcohol and/or other drug before the crash. Methods: This retrospective 4-year study (2008-2011) used a forensic toxicology database (TOXBASE) to evaluate the concentrations of alcohol and other drugs in blood samples from drivers killed in road-traffic crashes. Results: The mean age of all victims (N = 895) was 48 +/- 20 years, and the majority were male (86%). In 504 drivers (56%), the results of toxicological analysis were negative and these victims were older; mean age (+/- SD) 47 +/- 20 years, than alcohol positive cases (35 +/- 14 years) and illicit drug users (34 +/- 15 years). In 21% of fatalities, blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) was above the statutory limit for driving (0.2 g/L), although the median BAC was appreciably higher (1.72 g/L). Illicit drugs (mainly amphetamine and cannabis) were identified in similar to 7% of victims, either alone (2.5%), together with alcohol (1.8%) or a prescription drug (2%). The psychoactive prescription drugs identified were mainly benzodiazepines, z-hypnotics and tramadol, which were found in the blood of 7.6% of crash victims. Conclusions: The high median BAC in fatally-injured drivers speaks strongly towards alcohol-induced impairment as being responsible for the crash. Compared with alcohol, the prevalence of illicit and psychoactive prescription drugs was fairly low despite a dramatic increase in the number of drug-impaired drivers arrested by the police after a zero-tolerance law was introduced in 1999.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SAGE Publications (UK and US) , 2014. Vol. 42, no 2, 177-183 p.
Alcohol; driving; drugs; impairment; traffic fatalities
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-105752DOI: 10.1177/1403494813510792ISI: 000331371600009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-105752DiVA: diva2:710325