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Alcohol, drunk driving, drugs and medications

Drunk driving

  • 0.2 per mille (‰) = 0.1 mg of alcohol per litre of breath.
  • Punishable by fines or imprisonment for up to 6 months.
  • 1 or 2 years with either a mandatory alcolock or a revoked driving licence.

Aggravated drunk driving

  • 1.0 per mille (‰) = 0.5 mg of alcohol per litre of breath.
  • Punishable by imprisonment for up to 2 years (combined with gross negligence manslaughter up to 6 years).
  • 2 years with either a mandatory alcolock or a revoked driving licence.

Per mille

Per mille (‰) = thousandth. In relation to alcohol, “1 per mille” means that there is one part alcohol per 1000 parts blood (1/1000 concentration of alcohol in the blood).

Alcohol What happens
0,1–0,4‰ Loss of certain inhibitions and overestimation of your own abilities. Slower reaction time.
0,4–1,0‰ Impairment of vision, speech and coordination.
1,0–2,0‰ Difficulty controlling the body, impaired balance and double vision.
2,0–3,5‰ Deep sleep.
Over 3,5‰ Great risk of coma or death.

Alcohol awareness

  • It may be considered drunk driving even if you are under the legal limit, if you are driving recklessly.
  • Serving alcohol to someone you know will be driving may be considered complicity in drunk driving, which is a punishable offence. The same is true if you lend your car to a drunk person.
  • If you are taken into custody for being intoxicated in another context, your learner’s permit or driving licence may be revoked.
  • The legislation on alcohol applies not only to cars, but to all motor vehicles.
  • It is impossible to control your body’s breakdown of alcohol. Forget saunas and similar tricks, the only thing you can do is wait it out.
  • Even if there is no alcohol left in the blood, you often feel worn out the day after drinking a lot of alcohol.
  • Weight, general health, gender, drinking speed and food choices impact on your blood alcohol.
  • A person who consumes the exact same amount of alcohol on two different occasions may get different blood alcohol levels.
  • The legislation on drunk driving is applicable everywhere, including fenced-off areas and private property.
  • Alcolock instead of revoked licence is an option.

Medications in traffic

  • You are not allowed to drive if the medication makes you a traffic hazard. This prohibition is applicable even if the drug has been prescribed by a doctor.
  • It is your responsibility to judge whether the drug makes you a traffic hazard (consult your doctor, pharmacy and the package leaflet).
  • Narcotic substances can be legal if they have been prescribed by a doctor, providing that you can drive in a safe manner.
  • If you cause a traffic hazard when driving under the influence of a drug, it falls under the drunk driving legislation.

Narcotics in traffic

  • Zero tolerance against narcotics in traffic. There may not be the smallest trace.
    • Exception: Permitted if the drug has been prescribed by a doctor, providing that you can drive in a safe manner.
  • If you cause a traffic hazard due to a drug, the drunk driving legislation applies.
  • Different types of drugs:
    • Stimulants lead to hyperactivity and an overestimation of your driving abilities. Tiredness is repressed, and the driver can fall asleep at any time without warning. Cocaine and amphetamine are part of this group.
    • Sedatives cause sluggishness and concentration difficulties. Heroin, opium and morphine are part of this group.
    • Hallucinogens cause hallucinations, disorientation and impairs judgement. LSD is part of this group.

Mobile phones

Using a mobile phone or similar equipment in traffic can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence. A few facts:

  • It is prohibited to use a mobile phone, fiddle with a GPS device or similar if it makes you inattentive and thus creates a traffic hazard.
  • Using a handheld mobile phone is always prohibited when you are driving.
  • A hands-free frees both your hands, but be aware that the conversation itself is distracting. A complicated phone call can make you lose focus, even though you have both hands free.
  • Text messaging behind the wheel is very dangerous (a significantly greater hazard than making a call). The risk level is the same as that of a highly intoxicated person. It is prohibited to text from a handheld mobile phone when you are driving.

Clarification regarding the use of mobile phones

Can I hold my phone in my hand if I keep both hands on the steering wheel and use speaker phone?
– No, you are never allowed to hold your phone while driving, despite the fact that you manage to keep both hands on the steering wheel at the same time. The same is true about holding your phone against the gear stick or against your legs. Holding your phone is prohibited, no matter how you do it.

Is it allowed to use the car’s built-in GPS?
– Yes, in a safe manner. It is prohibited if it makes you inattentive and thus creates a traffic hazard.

Am I allowed to use the GPS on my mobile phone?
– Yes, but you cannot hold it in your hand. Type in your destination in advance. However, even if you do not touch your phone, it is always prohibited to use it if it makes you inattentive and thus creates a traffic hazard.

Am I allowed to use voice control to call and send texts while driving?
– Yes, in a safe manner. It is prohibited if it makes you inattentive and thus creates a traffic hazard.

Who decides if I am driving inattentively and causing a traffic hazard?
– This is primarily something for you to assess yourself. However, in the end it is up to the police and the judicial system in each individual case.

Statistics

  • 20% of traffic deaths are alcohol or drug related.
  • Around 15,000 drunk drivers every day.
  • 25,000 are caught drunk driving each year. 15,000 of these are due to drugs.
  • 90% of the drunk drivers are men, primarily younger and middle-aged.

Alcohol calculation

Volume of spirits = percentage by volume * the volume in cl * 0.025

Example: How much spirits (40%) corresponds to 50 cl of light beer with 3.5 percentage alcohol by volume?

Answer: 3.5 * 50 * 0.025 = 4.38 ≈ 4 cl

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