Steady Rise In Pre-Holiday Drug Driving


Poliisi puhalluttaa autoilijaa talvellaAlthough still below 1%, violation rate keeps rising. PHOTO: POLITIET.NO16 JAN - The number of drug driving offenses keeps its steady rise, results from ROADPOL's latest pre-Christmas Alcohol&Drug enforcement operation show.

The operation was traditionally conducted in December, a month marked by various holidays and celebrations, social gatherings and events where alcohol and drug consumption is common. 20 countries took part in the pan-European enforcement action.


According to their reports more than 1.233.481 were checked which is more than twice the number from the same operation a year earlier (753.000 drivers). Of these, 17.779 (12.180 in 2022) drivers were under the influence of alcohol and 6.002 (3.184 in 2022) under the influence of drugs. Thus data show that both drug and alcohol violation rate jumped compared to 12 months ago - 14% increase for drugs and 11% for alcohol. Same pattern was observed this time last year making it a consistent trend.

It is not possible to indicate in which country the violation percentage was the highest, because the way of substance detection differs too much. Legal limits of substance levels in blood/breath also vary. Although the legislation in European countries differs slightly, driving under the influence is punishable in all of them countries. Some countries have a 0 limit (zero tolerance), while in other countries a low content of breath alcohol level is still allowed. As a result of the operation tens of thousands of fines for millions of euros were issued and in 8.451 cases the driver’s license was seized.

Chief Commissioner Jana Pelešková Analysis

“Scientific evidence unequivocally demonstrates that operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs significantly elevates the risk of being part of a collision. Regrettably, our day-to-day policing experience consistently substantiates this fact. In numerous crashes where law enforcement responds to the scene, it becomes evident that the driver involved was operating their vehicle under the influence. This is why our control actions are crucial especially at times when violation rate is visibly on the rise”, comments ROADPOL Operation Working Group Chief Jana Pelešková from the Directorate of Traffic Police at the Police Presidium of the Czech Republic.


According to statistics the use of alcohol and/or drugs before or while driving a vehicle leads to a large number of collisions with other road users or fixed objects every year. The number of road users who are injured or killed in these collisions is also high. “Specifically, individuals within the 18-25 age group, commonly categorized as "young drivers," frequently lack awareness regarding the risks associated with drug driving. Many in this demographic fail to recognize that even minimal quantities of narcotics can render them unfit to operate a vehicle. Additionally, there is a trend to underestimate the lasting impact on driving ability, with some not realizing that the impairment can persist even if drugs were consumed several days prior”, Pelešková further informs. According to her, preventing and combating driving under the influence can lower collisions, reducing serious injuries and traffic deaths.