Associations between substance use among car and van drivers in Norway and fatal injury in road traffic accidents

The prevalence of drunk driving is low in Norway; only about 0.2 per cent of car drivers have blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) above the legal limit of 0.02 g/dl. The prevalence of driving with concentrations of psychoactive drugs in blood above the legislative limits is estimated to be 1-2 per cent. However, alcohol is still the most commonly found substance in blood samples from drivers killed in traffic crashes. The aim of this study was to calculate the odds ratio (OR) for fatal injury in road traffic accidents after using alcohol or drugs by using a case-control design. The ‘Cases’ were 508 drivers killed in road traffic accidents in 2003-10 and the ‘Controls’ were 9 261 random drivers in normal traffic. Blood samples from ‘Cases’ and oral fluid samples from ‘Controls’ were analysed for alcohol and 17 drugs. The OR for being killed in a traffic crash with blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit of 0.02 g/dl and no drug detection was 124.6, the OR after using alcohol in combination with drugs 602.2. The OR after using only one psychoactive medicinal drug was 6.0; no significant ORs were found for the specific use of only zopiclone or THC. The OR for alcohol was similar to ORs found in other studies in Norway and neighbouring countries, but very much higher than the OR found in studies in Central and Southern Europe and North America. ORs for other substances were more similar to other studies. It is likely that the observed high ORs, particularly for alcohol, are not only related to the risk posed by the substance alone, but confounding factors and study design are also important.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 284-9
  • Monograph Title: 20th International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety Conference Proceedings, 25-28 August 2013, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Australia

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01495673
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ITRD, ATRI
  • Created Date: Oct 17 2013 10:12AM