So naturally, after I had settled in last night I set off to relieve some childhood memories. I took a walk by the Rhein and had some delicious Kölche Kaviar (Cologne Caviar). Which consisted of blood sausage and bread. It was wonderful.
The day started off with a 30min presentation by Horst Schulze, the DRUID project co-ordinator, who gave the 300 delegates in attendance a quick overview of the project and general findings. The figures came thick and fast with the most eye-popping one being that over the course of the 5 year study, 50,000 drivers had been tested for alcohol, illegal drugs or medicinal drugs. The other being that also over the 5 year period, 28 babies had been born to various members of the DRUID project team!
Anja Knoche, of the Federal Highway Research Institute, BASt, then presented her section of DRUID. She took us on a short ride through the methodology and experimental studies within the project. Quick hit facts to come out of her presentation include:
• A drunk driver is 7-10 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than an un-impaired driver. A driver who has cannabis in their system is twice as likely.
• A total of 3.5% of drivers in Europe have driven while under the influence of alcohol, whilst 1.90% have driven under the influence of illegal drugs, and 1.36% on medicinal drugs.
• A THC 2ng/ml blood level is the equivalent of impairment of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.5%, which is a common European legal limit.
Ms. Knoche also called for a harmonisation of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and driving under the influence of drugs (DUID), by finding a level of impairment for drugs that is the equivalent to the often used o.5% BAC.
Inger-Marie Bernhoft of the Technical University of Denmark was up next with her look into epidemiology. She presented her findings that Italy had the greatest prevalence of impaired drivers of the countries that conducted tests as part of the DRUID project. As a whole, countries in southern Europe performed worst with western Europe doing marginally better, followed by northern Europe, and eastern European countries seeing the least amount of prevalence of DUI/DUID’s.
They also tested blood samples from 2,600 injured, and 1,000 killed car and van driver’s. 5% of killed motorists had drugs/alcohol in their system at the time of death, with 5-8% of injured motorists also having drugs/alcohol in their system.
The session closed with this disturbing fact… 25% of young people (15-24yrs) are susceptible to drug or drink driving.
Visit the blog tomorrow to see my report from the press conference and delegate dinner, as well as the eagerly anticipated in depth findings of the 5 year DRUID project study.
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