Research Article

Drinking and driving: success of random breath testing in Finland.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 295 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.295.6590.101 (Published 11 July 1987) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987;295:101
  1. J A Dunbar,
  2. A Penttila,
  3. J Pikkarainen

    Abstract

    Since the introduction of random breath testing in Finland in 1977 the drinking and driving rate has halved, and there has been an appreciable reduction in the rates of death and injury from road accidents associated with drinking. The results of Finnish studies indicate that random breath testing deters social drinkers and detects problem drinkers. Problem drinkers are more likely to be driving in morning traffic, when vulnerable road users such as children are about, and are more likely to be detected by random breath testing than by any other police activity. Random breath testing is a popular measure and has not only saved lives but has paid for itself by savings in health service and other resources. Introducing random breath testing into Britain could save at least 400 lives a year. The main recommendation of the Blennerhassett report of 1976--discretionary testing--is compared with the success of random breath testing in Finland.