Drink-driving problems cannot be solved by fixating on total alcohol consumption
In public debate, you often run across the claim that reducing total alcohol consumption will also reduce drink-driving offences. However, a study by the University of Eastern Finland shows that changes in total alcohol consumption have had no correlation to changes in the number of drink-driving offences. This was one of the points raised by Elina Ussa, Managing Director of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry, in her speech at a recent international conference aimed at tackling drink driving. The conference was organised through a collaborative effort between Liikenneturva, the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi) and the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC).
In her speech, Ussa stressed that researchers at the University of Eastern Finland considered official supervision and social control to be the most important ways of preventing drink-drinking offences, not influencing drinking habits. The risk of getting caught was held to be one of the most effective means of reducing drink driving.
“In addition to investing in official supervision, it’s also important to run long-term awareness campaigns to boost social control. Traffic organisations have long been cooperating with a variety of different actors in their commendable efforts to increase awareness. Businesses, authorities and civic organisations should endeavour to engage in similar long-term and broad-ranging cooperation to increase awareness about alcohol,” says Elina Ussa, Managing Director of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry.
The brewing industry would like to remind people that alcohol is not suitable for everyone or for every occasion. Alcohol is an adult beverage and is not suitable for minors. You should also avoid alcohol in other situations, such as when driving, pregnant, or taking part in sporting activities.
“Alcohol-free beer is an excellent alternative when drinking alcohol is inappropriate. Consumers want to enjoy alcohol-free beers from familiar and favourite brands. It’s a great pity that these alcohol-free beers cannot be advertised, and that consumers cannot be made aware of the wide range of alcohol-free alternatives available,” says Ussa.
Alcohol-free beer is a trending product in Europe. Up to 15 per cent of all beer consumed in Spain is non-alcoholic. Although the consumption of alcohol-free beer in Finland is still quite low in comparison to the rest of Europe (under half a per cent), habits are changing. Sales of alcohol-free beers have increased by over 17 per cent in the last five years.
Managing Director Elina Ussa, tel. +358 (0)45 269 7711
Communications Manager Outi Heikkinen, tel. +358 (0)50 370 8677
www.panimoliitto.fi, www.kohtuullisesti.fi, www.maljasuomelle.fi
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The Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry promotes the interests of producers of beer, cider, long drinks, soft drinks and mineral waters in Finland. Its members are Oy Hartwall Ab, Momentin Group Oy, Olvi Oyj, Red Bull Finland Oy, Saimaan Juomatehdas, and Oy Sinebrychoff Ab. The Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry is a member of the Finnish Food and Drink Industries Federation.