Breathalyzer blunder goes viral in Sweden

A Facebook post by a policeman in western Sweden in which he talks about how he mistakenly asked a passenger instead of the driver to do a breathalyzer test, has gone viral.

Breathalyzer blunder goes viral in Sweden
This is not the policeman or the man in the story. Photo: Anders Wiklund/Scanpix

In the post a policeman for the Sjuhärad region, identified only as Per, writes about how a right-hand drive car caught him off-guard in the early hours of Sunday morning.

“It was 5:30am and after a busy night, we were checking the sobriety in the traffic,” the post read.

“I waved the car to our control room. We said a few nice phrases to each other before I asked him to do a breathalyzer test. The man questioned directly why he should do it. I replied kindly that if they wanted to continue the journey he had to blow.”

“The man looked sincerely surprised, but smiled and was about to blow when his friend next to him said that he could blow instead. I rubbed my eyes and found out that the wheel sat on the ‘wrong’ side of the car.”

“The laughter from me and the people in the right-hand drive car was heard as far out as the Sjuhärad forests.”

“It’s hard to always be on top of things. Keep going shift workers!” the policeman concluded.

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = “//”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));

Morgontrött polis ifrågasatt av trafikant. Tyvärr är det inte helt ovanligt att vi fångar in förare som ännu inte…

Posted by Polisen Sjuhärad on Sunday, 2 August 2015

By mid-afternoon on Monday the post, which was published on Sunday afternoon, had clocked up almost 40,000 likes and almost 2.5 thousand shares.

Swedes have driven on the right-hand side of the road after legislation was passed by the Swedish parliament, the Riksdag, in 1963.

The changeover took place on September 3rd, 1967, known as “Högertrafikomläggningen” (“The right-hand traffic diversion”).

Only a handful of European countries currently drive on the left, including the UK, Ireland and Malta. 

It is not known if the car in question came from abroad but tourists have certainly been flocking to Sweden this year, despite the miserable weather.

Swedish police have increased their social media presence in recent years, with several of the major police forces taking to Twitter and Facebook to share news of their activities – both big and small.

In 2013, The Local’s reporter Oliver Gee joined Sweden’s first social media police on the beat in Södermalm to find out why they have embraced Twitter.

“Swedish police aren't used to being public, so this account is really liberating,” 46-year-old Johan Säfström told The Local at the time.

READ MORE: The secret life of Stockholm's Twitter cops

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime