Alcohol and drug use among road users involved in fatal crashes in Norway

Pasnin, L.T.; Gjerde, H.

Objective of this research was to study the prevalence of alcohol and drugs in biological samples from drivers, motorcycle riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians involved in fatal road traffic crashes (RTCs) during 2016-2018 in Norway, both among fatally injured victims and those who survived fatal RTCs. Anonymous information was extracted from police data. No personal data were recorded.
Results of the study showed that there were 330 fatal RTCs with 349 killed road users and 384 survivors during the study period; this included 179 passengers who were excluded from the study. In total, 90% of the studied killed road users and 67% of the survivors were investigated for alcohol or drug use by analyzing biological samples. Alcohol or drugs in concentrations above the legal limits were detected in 21% of the analyzed samples. The proportion impaired by alcohol or drugs (blood alcohol concentrations equal to or greater than 0.05%, or drug concentrations above equivalent limits) was highest among killed bicyclists (43%), higher than among killed pedestrians (24%), car and van drivers (28%) and motorcyclists (20%), and significantly higher than among drivers who survived fatal crashes (4%).
The study concludes that impairment due to use of alcohol or drugs was often a contributing factor among bicyclists, pedestrians and motor vehicle drivers who died in RTCs. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs was more often a contributing factor in cases where the motor vehicle driver was killed than in cases where the driver survived.

Published in
Traffic Injury Prevention
22 (4)
Library number
20220116 ST [electronic version only]

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