More road deaths linked to alcohol

Although the total number of traffic deaths is continuing to decline in Sweden, 34 percent of those killed on the road had alcohol in their bodies — the highest figure since the National Road Administration began keeping statistics in 1989.

“We’ve seen this increase in the proportion of drivers drinking every year since we joined the EU,” said Hans Laurell at the Road Administration, according to Swedish Radio.

”The primary cause of this is the major increase in alcohol consumption in Sweden since the mid-90s. There is a very strong link between the amount of alcohol consumed in general, and the number of people with alcohol in their blood who have accidents,” Laurell told The Local

The National Road Administration is starting a public awareness campaign designed to improve behaviour on the road. He said the country should also stiffen penalties and increase the number of traffic speed cameras from 700 to upwards of 1000.

“The best way to tackle this overall is to tackle overall consumption,” Laurell said, “but that’s not possible now.”

“In the short term we need more traffic measures and more police breath tests. In the long term we need to pursue alcohol ignition interlocks,” he said.