Home > How traffic law enforcement can contribute to safer roads: PIN flash 42.

European Transport Safety Council. (2022) How traffic law enforcement can contribute to safer roads: PIN flash 42. Brussels: European Safety Transport Council.

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Exceeding speed limits, drink- or distracted- driving, and failure to wear a seatbelt are among the important factors leading to death and serious injury on European roads. Road safety laws have been adopted to guide drivers in their behaviour. Many comply with them willingly. Others, however, would be less likely to comply if it were not for fear of being detected and sanctioned. This is where traffic law enforcement comes in. This report gives an overview of the current state of road traffic enforcement across the EU, with recommendations for action.

For drink-driving the report makes use of the number of roadside alcohol breath tests (not the number of tickets for drink-driving). Between 2019 & 2020 decreased the number of alcohol tests for all the countries that provided data roadside alcohol breath tests (Table 4, p.63),

P.30 2.2 Drink-driving enforcement levels by country

Among the PIN countries that were able to provide data on the number of roadside police drink-driving checks, Estonia was the most active in 2019 with 696 checks carried out per 1000 population followed by Poland with 444, Hungary with 279 and Austria and Slovenia with 204 and 203 respectively (Table 2). Alcohol checks were relatively infrequent in Ireland (64 per 1000 population). In 2019, Ireland had the lowest proportions of tested drivers found to be over the legal limit at 0.5%...

P.32 2.3 Drink-driving deaths

Approximately 2700 people were recorded killed in alcohol related collisions in police records in 2019 in 24 EU countries compared to around 3600 in 2010. However, these two numbers are likely to be lower than the true numbers due to a high level of underreporting of road deaths attributed to alcohol and data collection limitations..

P.34 2.4 Drug-driving

Both illicit and licit drugs can disrupt the psychological state of the driver and impair their driving performance. Using multiple drugs simultaneously, or in conjunction with alcohol, increases the risk of a collision even further. The primary general deterrent factor when it comes to drug-driving is the perceived risk of detection. However, an EU survey carried out in 2018 shows that amongst the general driving population, only 14% think that they are likely to be checked by the police for the use of illegal drugs. This compares to 23% for alcohol checks. It is crucial therefore that enforcement is carried out properly and visibly.

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