Safety Performance Indicator report – Alcohol and drugs

Goede, M. de; Stelling, A.

Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is one of the main causes of road fatalities. This ERSO report SPI Alcohol & Drugs provides an overview of available data on driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs for EU member states and EFTA countries. Moreover, it provides information on their relationship with alcohol and drug regulations and enforcement.

In general, data on driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs are scarce and large differences exist in data collection methods. For this report data from the ESRA project (survey data) and the Baseline project (roadside measurements) are used.

Based on these data sources the following can be concluded for the SPIs alcohol & drugs:

  1. For the seven Member States who carried out police-assisted random breath testing during roadside alcohol checks, the percentage of drivers driving within the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) ranges from 0.1% and 2.7%. It is nevertheless estimated that within the EU this equates to millions of drivers driving potentially billions of kilometres under the influence of alcohol.
  2. Drivers who comply with the legal BAC limit are generally observed during weekday daytime, and drivers whose BAC levels are higher than the legal limit are more common during weekend night-time.
  3. Males are more likely to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs than females.
  4. A higher share of drivers under the influence have used alcohol compared to drugs, notwithstanding the difficulties of measuring drug use.
  5. There is more variation among countries for the proportion of people driving under the influence of alcohol than for people driving under the influence of drugs.
  6. The countries that have the lowest self-reported scores on driving under the influence of alcohol (<10%) (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, The Netherlands, and Sweden) also have relatively low mortality rates (≤9.1 alcohol related deaths per million inhabitants)
  7. The countries which have the lowest BAC limits (<0.5 g/L) are among the countries that have the lowest drunk-driving self-reported scores: Czech Republic (0.0 g/L), Hungary (0.0 g/L), Norway (0.2 g/L), Poland (0.2 g/L) and Sweden (0.2 g/L).

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European Road Safety Observatory, European Commission, Brussels

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