27.11.2023 - Driving under the influence can have fatal consequences. Nevertheless, 14 percent, equivalent to 600,000 Norwegians, admit to having driven while under the influence one or more times.
"These are alarming figures. When we drink, our judgment, understanding of risk, and reaction time are impaired. Therefore, alcohol and driving do not mix at all," says injury prevention expert Therese Hofstad-Nielsen of Fremtind, the insurance company of SpareBank 1 and DNB.
In a nationwide survey conducted by Respons Analyse on behalf of Fremtind, 14 percent of respondents admit that they have driven a car while under the influence of alcohol or other substances one or more times. There is a clear majority of men who report this, and most are between the ages of 35 to 44.
1 in 4 fatal accidents behind the wheel due to intoxication According to MA - Rusfri Trafikk, intoxication is responsible for about a quarter of all fatal accidents behind the wheel. In 2022, 11,651 people were reported for driving under the influence, equivalent to 32 people every day.
"As the Christmas party and festive season gets underway, there is an increased risk of driving with alcohol in your system on the way home. But it can have fatal consequences for yourself and your fellow road users. Decide to leave the car already before the party starts, and don’t drive until you are well-rested, alert, and completely sober," advises Hofstad-Nielsen.
12 hours is not always enough To know when it's safe to drive the day after, many adhere to a 12-hour rule. In the survey, respondents believe that it takes an average of 11.6 hours before a person can drive again after drinking alcohol.
"Unfortunately, the 12-hour rule is not reliable, because the blood alcohol level we reach depends on several factors, such as weight, muscle mass, gender, and the size of the units you drink. We all need to take responsibility for our behavior in traffic. If you are in doubt whether you are fit to drive, you should leave the car," concludes the injury prevention expert.
How alcohol affects the body:
'Worse concentration and memory: Even after a small intake of alcohol, and a blood alcohol level below 0.5, alcohol will affect your concentration ability, as it impacts the nerve cells in the brain.
Vision impairment: The eyes lose some of their ability to adjust from light to dark.
Significantly worse reaction time: Situations are perceived poorly, and reactions are less precise. You become more impulsive and less critical, making more mistakes.