Fatally injured drivers in Norway 2005–2015: Trends in substance use and crash characteristics

Publisher's full text
Anja Valen
Stig Tore Bogstrand
Vigdis Vindenes
Joachim Frost
Anders Holtan
Hallvard Gjerde

Objective: Norway introduced a “Vision Zero” strategy in 2001, using multiple approaches, aiming toward a future in which no one will be killed or seriously injured in road traffic crashes (RTCs). Official statistics show that the number of fatally injured road users has declined substantially from 341 deaths in 2000 to 117 in 2015. In-depth crash investigations of all fatal RTCs started in Norway in 2005. The aim of this study was to investigate whether fatal crash characteristics, vehicle safety features, and prevalence of drugs and/or alcohol among fatally injured drivers and riders has changed during 2005–2015, accompanying the reduction in road fatalities.

Methods: Data on all car/van drivers and motorcycle/moped riders fatally injured in RTCs during 2005–2015 were extracted from Norwegian road traffic crash registries and combined with forensic toxicology data.

Results: The proportion of cars and motorcycles with antilock braking systems and cars with electronic stability control, increased significantly during the study period. The prevalence of nonuse of seat belts/helmets and speeding declined among both fatally injured drivers and riders. In addition, the prevalence of alcohol declined, though no significant change in the total prevalence of other substances was noted.

Conclusion: The observed changes toward more safety installations in cars and motorcycles and lower prevalence of driver-related risk factors like alcohol use, speeding, and nonuse of seat belts/helmets among fatally injured drivers/riders may have contributed to the decrease in road traffic deaths.

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