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Traffic Accidents in Switzerland: How Hazardous Are “High Risk” Groups? An Analysis Based on Police Protocols

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On January 1, 2005, Switzerland reduced the legal level of blood-alcohol concentration while driving from 0.8‰ to 0.5‰. This happend on basis of the assumption that more restrictive per mil levels increase road safety. The benefit of lower blood-alcohol levels, however, depends on whether drinking drivers indeed pose a risk for themselves and other road users. Analyses using official data of all 84,437 two-car crashes during 2001–2005 indeed show a higher relative risk of drinking to sober drivers. And, we also find evidence that prejudices against drivers with an Eastern European citizenship, contrary to recent newspaper articles, are groundless.


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Correspondence to Thomas Gautschi.

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About this article


  • traffic accidents
  • drinking
  • statistical modelling
  • estimation of risk


  • C51
  • C81
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  • R41