Sweden: Drunk driving has increased by ten percent
18.08.2023 - The number of revoked driving licenses due to drunk driving or drug-impaired driving during the first half of the year has increased by over 10 per cent, from 3,200 to 3,542, compared to the same period last year. This is the highest number in 10 years.
"Drunk driving is a major problem in Sweden. One in every four fatal accidents in Swedish road traffic is alcohol or drug-related, which is a high percentage compared to comparable countries," says Tony Gunnarsson, an expert in road safety at the National Federation M Sweden.
Although more people have had their driving licenses revoked, it is a small proportion compared to the number of impaired drivers. According to the Transport Administration, at least 15,000 journeys are made daily in Sweden with drivers so impaired that they would be convicted of drunk driving if discovered.
"Unfortunately, the risk of detection is far too low. The number of withdrawn driving licenses is also linked to the number of controls, which have decreased significantly over time. In 2010, the police conducted 2.7 million sobriety checks, in 2019 1.2 million tests were made, and in 2022 only 677,000," says Tony Gunnarsson.
A total of 56 people died in alcohol or drug-related accidents in 2022, which is 9 more than in 2021. Of these, 32 people died in accidents solely related to alcohol, 16 in accidents solely related to drugs, and 8 in accidents related to both alcohol and drugs.
"As a road user, you shouldn't have to be afraid or worried that the next car you meet is driven by a drunk driver. We need more police on our roads so that more impaired drivers can be taken out of traffic, and more are deterred from driving under the influence," says Tony Gunnarsson.
This is how the National Federation M Sweden wants to reduce drunk driving • More sobriety checks by police. • Implement alcohol gates at all ferry terminals. Alcohol gates have been tested in ports in Stockholm and Gothenburg. These trials showed that drunk driving decreased during the period they were used, which proves that sobriety checks in ports are needed. • Allow the police to conduct random drug tests in traffic without suspicion. • Close the loophole for "after-drinking". Prohibit people who have driven a car and been involved in a traffic accident from consuming alcohol or other intoxicants within six hours after driving. • Stop and check more truck drivers. The Customs Service has warned about an increasing number of drug-impaired drivers. • Classify drug-impaired driving in heavy traffic as a serious crime.
Source: M Sverige