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The role of alcohol in road traffic accidents with fatal outcome: 10-year period in Croatia Split-Dalmatia County.

Research paper by Davorka D Sutlovic, Antonija A Scepanovic, Marinko M Bosnjak, Maja M Versic-Bratincevic, Marija M Definis-Gojanovic

Indexed on: 01 Jan '14Published on: 01 Jan '14Published in: Traffic injury prevention



Abstract

The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between alcohol consumption and fatal road traffic accidents that took place in Split-Dalmatia County (Croatia) during a 10-year period (from August 2001 to August 2011).A retrospective analysis of 474 autopsy reports was performed, with an emphasis on 337 toxicologal findings of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and the mode of participation in traffic (driver, passenger, pedestrian, or cyclist). Relations between the BAC, the weekday on which death occurred, victim's age and gender, and differences according to 3 successive legislation periods within the observed time frame were analyzed. The BAC was measured by gas chromatography with headspace and flame ionization detection.Alcohol was regarded as a contributive death factor if BAC was positive; that is, higher than 0.5 g/kg. BAC was positive in 177 cases. Most often it was the car driver who had a positive BAC. Victims of traffic accidents were mostly male drivers, and those accidents were more often associated with alcohol consumption. Consumption of alcohol produced a significant increase in culpability.The results of our study show that alcohol remains one of the main contributing factors of traffic accidents in Split-Dalmatia County. Unfortunately, legislation changes regarding the allowed BAC did not cause any reduction in casualties among drivers driving under the influence of alcohol (DUIA). Chi-square test of the number of total driver victims and driver victims who were DUIA revealed no significant difference (P = .173).