The aim of this study was to examine the overall and cause-specific mortality of DUI arrestees compared to a reference population with no history of DUI and to recognize the risk factors of premature death.
The data used were a register of all DUI arrestees between April 1988 and December 2006. All drivers with drug-positive samples were excluded. DUI arrestees were compared to a reference population with no previous history of DUI. Overall and cause-specific hazard ratios were calculated and risk factors were estimated.
Alcohol causes, diseases of the circulatory system and accidents constituted the most common causes of death among DUI arrestees. Suspected DUI was linked with higher mortality in every observed cause of death. The risk of death by alcohol-related or external cause was especially high. Among women DUI arrests caused sharper increase to the risk of death than increase found among male arrestees. Within the group of DUI arrestees the risk of death was affected by age, sex, marital status, education, multiple arrests as well as time and observed blood alcohol level of the arrest. Half of the suspected DUI cases and one in five of the references had alcohol as a contributing factor to death.
Arrest on suspicion of drunk-driving is an indicator for elevated risk of death. Alcohol is often related to deaths of DUI arrestees. Drunk-drivers should be efficiently guided with respect to evaluations and treatments for harmful drinking.