Transport and Covid-19: responses and resources

Alcohol-Related Road Casualties in Official Crash Statistics

This study examines how improving insights regarding the real number of alcohol-related road casualties worldwide can help to save lives. Every year 1.25 million people die in road crashes according to the World Health Organization. It is widely recognised that drink driving is an important risk-increasing factor and contributes to many road deaths. With great certainty, the real number of alcohol-related road casualties is higher than reported in the official statistics. Better insight into reporting procedures is of the utmost relevance to arrive at comparable and reliable data.

For this study, a total of 45 countries were surveyed with the help of an online questionnaire. The survey was facilitated through the members of the International Transport Forum’s permanent working group on road safety, known as the International Traffic Safety Data and Analysis Group (IRTAD), the Ibero-American Road Safety Observatory (OISEVI) and the International Center for Alcohol Policies (IARD, formerly ICAP), London.

Policy Insights

  • Review how data on alcohol-related road crashes is collected.
  • Aim for a systematic alcohol testing of every road user actively involved in a serious crash.
  • Use statistical analysis methods to better estimate the number of alcohol-related road fatalities.
  • Harmonise definitions of alcohol-related road casualties.
  • Conduct future research on how to measure alcohol-related road crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists.

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