In 1988 and 1990, respectively, Norway and Sweden adopted legal reforms including abandonment of mandatory jail sentences for persons driving with BACs above specific limits. Interrupted time-series analysis finds that in both countries traffic deaths diminished simultaneously with the reforms, consistent with the understanding that Scandinavian success in reducing impaired driving does not depend upon mandatory jail.
One hundred sixty-three fatal road traffic accidents (RTAs) resulting in 178 deaths occurring from 1983-1987 in a Danish county have been studied from a preventive perspective. Alcohol was an important factor in 41% of all fatal RTAs. Other factors such as high speed, the use of seat belts and helmets, and technical defects are mentioned. Also, the material has been analyzed according to types of accidents. Prospects for the local prevention of RTAs are discussed with particular emphasis on accidents related to alcohol and high speed. Examples are given of preventive activities where experience gained through the present study have been useful.
Blood samples and accident records of 41 female and 186 male fatally injured drivers were examined. Analyses suggested that drugs other than alcohol are causally related to fatal traffic accidents in British Columbia. Toxicologies showed: 37% alcohol only, 11% alcohol and drugs, and 9% drugs only. The most frequently found drugs were: 48% alcohol, 13% tetrahydrocannabinol or its metabolites (THC/THCCOOH), 4% cocaine, and 5% diazepam. In addition, alcohol-only impairment was missed by investigating police officers in many cases, impairment by alcohol and drugs was mistakenly identified as alcohol-only impairment, and drug-only impairment was misclassified as "driving without due care and attention".
To discuss the implications of widespread implementation of alcohol ignition interlocks.
We base our discussion on data from Finland including crash statistics and surveys collected from criminal justice professionals and general driving population.
Alcohol ignition interlocks are an effective preventive measure against drunk driving when installed in the vehicles of convicted drunk drivers. However, once they are removed from the vehicles, drivers typically return to their habit of drinking and driving. Furthermore, for a number of reasons, the proportion of convicted drunk drivers that install an interlock in their vehicles is quite small. Therefore, many stakeholders believe that the solution to the drunk driving problem will come when interlocks become standard equipment in all new vehicles. However, drunk driving is a complex sociopsychological problem, and technology can rarely offer a solution to such complex problems. Consequently, many aspects of such interventions might be difficult to identify and include in cost-benefit analysis.
We express caution about requiring an interlock as standard equipment in all new vehicles.
In Canada, stratification by geographic area or socio-economic status remains relatively rare in national and provincial reporting and surveillance for injury prevention and trauma care. As injuries are known to affect some populations more than others, a more nuanced understanding of injury risk may in turn inform more effective prevention policy. In this study we assessed rates of hospitalization and death from motor vehicle collisions (MVC) in British Columbia (BC) by socio-economic status (SES) and by rural and urban status between 2001 and 2007. Excess risk in injury morbidity and mortality between different SES groups were assessed using a population attributable fraction (PAF). Over a six-year period rural populations in BC experienced a three-fold increase in relative risk of death and an average of 50% increase in relative risk of hospitalization due to injury. When assessed against SES, relative risk of MVC mortality increased from 2.36 (2.05-2.72) to 4.07 (3.35-4.95) in reference to the least deprived areas, with an estimated 40% of all MVC-related mortality attributable to the relative differences across SES classes. Results from this study challenge current provincial and national reporting practises and emphasize the utility of employing the PAF for assessing variations in injury morbidity and mortality.
The dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol/drugs (DWI) have been well established. Many countries have successfully reduced the incidence of DWI through effective law enforcement. We aim to explore the links between how law enforcement is perceived in cultures with different socioeconomic indicators. Our hypothesis is that social norms around definitions of what constitutes "right" vs. "deviant" behavior related to DWI directly contribute to the mode and success of law enforcement.
Road safety professionals from six countries with different levels of DWI rates and enforcement strategies were interviewed regarding the expected local response to a case vignette. Sociodemographic, mortality, and economic indicators for each of these countries were extracted from different sources.
The professionals interviewed described a continuum ranging from unequivocal enforcement and punishment (Australia and Norway) to inconsistent enforcement and punishment with the presence of many legal loopholes (Mexico and Brazil). For the six countries, no apparent correlation was identified purely between alcohol consumption and road traffic mortality. However, there seems to be a correlation between the time period of initial DWI legislation and current gross national income, perceptions of local safety, satisfaction with the local environment, and trust in the national government. Higher levels of these scores are seen in nations in which DWI laws were implemented prior to the 1960s.
Better performing countries seem to have achieved a level of societal agreement that DWI is deviant, generating social stigma against DWI that allows legislation to be enforced. Lessons learned from these countries could help developing countries reduce morbidity and mortality associated with DWI.