Norwegian roadside survey of alcohol and drug use by drivers (2008-2009)
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionTraffic Injury Prevention. 2013, 14 (5), 443-452. 10.1080/15389588.2012.728016
Objective: To examine alcohol and drug use among random drivers in different regions of Norway by analyzing oral fluid, compare drivers in urban and rural areas, compare with results from the roadside survey in southeastern Norway in 2005–2006, and roughly estimate the prevalence of driving with blood drug concentrations above the new Norwegian legislative limits among random drivers. This roadside survey was part of the European DRUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, Alcohol and Medicines) Project. Methods: Drivers were selected for a voluntary and anonymous study using a stratified multistage cluster sampling procedure in collaboration with the Mobile Police Service. Samples of oral fluid were taken using the Statsure Saliva Sample (Statsure Diagnostic Systems, Framingham, MA), and the drivers’ gender, age, and nationality were recorded. Samples of oral fluid were analyzed for alcohol or drugs, for a total 28 psychoactive substances. Results: One hundred eighty-four roadside survey sessions were conducted and 10,004 drivers were asked to participate. The refusal rate was 5.8 percent. Psychoactive substances were found in 4.8 percent of the 9410 oral fluid samples analyzed. Alcohol was detected in 0.3 percent, medicinal drugs in 3.2 percent, and illegal drugs in 1.5 percent of the samples. Illegal drugs were significantly more frequently detected in samples from southeastern Norway including the capital Oslo, whereas medicinal drugs were more frequently detected in samples from southeastern Norway excluding Oslo. Illegal drugs were significantly more frequently detected in samples from drivers in urban areas than in rural areas, though there were no significant differences for alcohol and medicinal drugs. Medicinal drugs were most commonly found in samples collected during the daytime on weekdays (3.8%), and illegal drugs were most commonly found in samples collected during late night on weekdays or weekends (2.8%–3.2%). The most commonly found substances were the sleeping agent zopiclone (1.4%), the main active substance in cannabis tetrahydrocannabinol (1.1%), and the sedative drug diazepam (0.7%). The prevalence of driving with drug concentrations above the Norwegian legislative limits for blood was estimated to be about 0.2 percent for alcohol, 0.6 percent for illegal drugs, and about 1.3 percent for medicinal drugs. Conclusions: The incidence of drink driving was very low, though driving after using psychoactive illegal or medicinal drugs was more frequent. Supplemental materials are available for this article. Go to the publisher's online edition of Traffic Injury Prevention to view the supplemental file.