Number of accidents caused by drunk drivers least in decades

Press release 2 April 2015

The Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre
Traffic Safety Committee of Insurance Companies (VALT)

According to the preliminary information provided by road accident investigation teams, fewer fatal accidents resulting from driving under the influence of alcohol occurred in 2014 than during the entire history of Finnish accident investigation. 27 alcohol-related accidents occurred last year, while in 2013 the amount was nearly double as much. The blood alcohol content figures remained bleak, however: 70% of the accident drivers exceeded the limit for aggravated drunk driving.

Around 40% of the drivers had a history of drunk driving. Aggravated drunk driving decreased slightly on the previous year where the 1.2 per mille limit was exceeded in 81 % of all cases. Not only the amount of alcohol-related accidents, but also their relative proportion in all fatal accidents decreased. In 2014, the proportion of alcohol-related accidents was 17%, the normal level being as much as 26%.

"After the dark figures of 2013, we have succeeded in turning the development back to a more positive direction, which could already be seen in the record-low figures of 2012. The efforts for getting drunk drivers off the roads must be systematically continued, however. Each case is one too many and poses an immense safety risk," says Traffic Safety Director Kalle Parkkari.

The most common accident type in incidences of drunk driving was run-off-road collision (66%). Collisions with another vehicle accounted for 26%.

"In a typical alcohol-related accident, a lone driver runs off the road on a summer weekend night with fatal consequences. Last year, however, an unfortunate accident took place where in addition to the drunk driver, three passengers in the vehicle lost their lives as well," says Road Safety Investigator Arja Holopainen.

Of all alcohol-related accidents in 2014, the accident driver was driving a passenger car in 67% of the cases. Motorcycle riders accounted for the second largest percentage (19%). The number of fatal motorcycle accidents resulting from driving under the influence of alcohol has remained roughly the same for a prolonged period of time. As it is, the number of alcohol-related accidents has only decreased for passenger car accidents.

The majority of the accidents (63%) occurred during summertime, i.e. during the period between April and September.

Additional information:

Traffic Safety Committee of Insurance Companies VALT – Preliminary information on alcohol-related accidents 2014

  • Kalle Parkkari, Traffic Safety Director, tel. +358 40 450 4627
  • Arja Holopainen, Road Safety Researcher, tel. +358 40 450 4531