900 000 breath alcohol tests have become 500 000 in two years

By: Thomas Ström 10/4/17

Difficult to reach Vision Zero with only 300 traffic police officers


Before the summer vacations, I wrote about fewer traffic polices on our roads; that the number had dropped from 1 200 to 300 in two years.
That time, my post concerned the speed controls, which had decreased considerably.

Now I've taken part of yet another report. It shows that the police now only conduct half as many breath alcohol tests compared to two years ago.
From January to July 2015, the police issued 892 053 breath alcohol tests on our Swedish roads. The corresponding figure for the same period this year is 499 610.

Notably, the number of drunk drivers is largely the same. About 1 percent of those who take the alcohol breath test have unacceptable amounts of alcohol in their blood. This means that several drunk drivers are not caught.
The scary part is that this has devastating consequences. Of the 270 casualties last year, 25 percent died in an accident related to alcohol.

Furthermore, it has been found that ten of the 37 motorcyclists that died in traffic, had alcohol in the blood. The same applies for three out of seven mopeds.
The worst figure, however, is found among the deaths of four-wheel drivers. Out of the four fatalities, 100 percent had alcohol in the blood.

This, in combination with increasing numbers of people violating the speed limits, is strongly contributing to the fact that the casualties in traffic is not reduced.

The question is whether Vision Zero, which the government implemented in 1997, will ever be a reality?
Back then it was decided that Vision Zero should serve as the foundation for the work with road safety. Thereby we we went from focusing on preventing accidents to focusing on no one to dying or seriously getting injured in traffic.

That's a very nice objective. But how can it be successful if those who commit the criminal offenses are not caught?

Recent figures show that August was a very dark month in terms of road safety. A total of 34 people died, which is nine people more than the same month last year. That many have not died in the month of August since 2009.

I've said it before and I'll say it again; I want to see more traffic police officers on our roads!