Alcohol- and drug-related fatal accidents in Sweden: where do they occur?

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Susanne Gustafsson

This conference paper presents an accident study investigating where fatal alcohol- and drug-related accidents occur with respect to traffic environment (i.e., urban versus rural), road type, speed limit, annual average daily traffic flow, and road category. The study uses data from in-depth studies of fatal accidents and from the Swedish National Road Database. Accident data from the 2006–2009 period are used.

The results indicate that the proportion of all fatal accidents that are alcohol-related is about the same on urban (21%) and rural roads (23%). However, the proportion of alcohol-related fatal accidents is higher on ordinary roads (i.e., two-lane single carriageways with no central reservation or median barrier; 23%) than on other types of rural state roads (11%). On ordinary roads, alcohol-related fatal accidents are more common on roads with speed limits of 60–70 km/h (35%) than on roads with speed limits of 80–100 km/h (14%) and more common on second- and third-class county roads (32%) than on roads in other categories (less than 20%). The alcohol-related accident risk follows the same pattern, i.e., the accident risk is highest where the proportion of alcohol-related accidents is highest.

 It was also found that the distribution of drug-related fatal accidents among various parts of the road network is more similar to the distribution of fatal accidents involving sober drivers than to alcohol-related fatal accidents. The present results can be used by the police in strategic planning of the surveillance. 

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