Estimation of blood alcohol concentration in deaths due to roadside accidents.

Research paper by Puneet P Arora, Ashok A Chanana, Hakumat R HR Tejpal

Indexed on: 30 Apr '13Published on: 30 Apr '13Published in: Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine


Like any other disease, accidents too are caused by interaction between agent, host, and environment. Human factors include age, (accidents most common between 10 and 24 years), sex, education, medical conditions (heart attack, impaired vision), fatigue, influence of alcohol and other drugs, lack of bodily protection (like helmets, seat belts) and psychosocial factors like lack of experience, impulsiveness, aggressiveness, defective judgment and delay in decisions. Drunken driving is an important risk factor in causing accidents. This study was focused on the status of alcohol consumption in relation with roadside accidents in northern India in the region of Amritsar. The present study was carried out in 100 cases alleged to have died of roadside accident and brought to the mortuary attached to the Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Government Medical College, Amritsar for autopsy examination. Blood samples were collected from the femoral vein and were tested for the presence of alcohol with steam distillation and titration method using potassium dichromate and sulfuric acid. In the present study, 23% of the fatal driver/pedestrian victims of roadside accidents were found to have consumed alcohol before accident. Most of the victims of road accident were from the age group 21-30 and 31-40 years. Most of the accidents occurred on straight roads instead of bends or intersections, more during daytime and weekends. 57% of the blood alcohol positives were between 100 mg% and 149 mg%. Majority of the victims of roadside accidents were motorcyclists and the striking vehicles were trucks and buses causing head & neck injuries in most of the victims. Death occurred within a few minutes in most of the cases.