Toxicological findings in driver and motorcyclist fatalities in Scotland 2012-2015

Hilary Hamnett (Lead / Corresponding author), Martha Ilett, Fauzia Izzati, Shannah S. Smith, Kirsty H. Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Fatal motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) continue to be a common occurrence worldwide. This paper presents a retrospective analysis of the toxicological investigation of drivers and motorcyclists fatally injured in MVCs in Scotland from 2012 to 2015. One hundred and eighteen cases with full toxicological analysis, i.e., alcohol, drugs of abuse and prescription drugs, were examined. Of those 118 MVC cases, 74 (63%) were car drivers, 32 (27%) were motorcyclists and the remaining were drivers of other vehicles such as large goods vehicles. The majority of deceased drivers and motorcyclists were male (N = 104, 88%). For the toxicological findings, 51 (43%) were negative, and of the 67 (57%) positive cases, alcohol and cannabinoids were the most frequently detected substances, followed by opiates and benzodiazepines. Fifteen percent of all drivers and motorcyclists were over the prescribed blood alcohol limit at the time of analysis. In comparison to previous reports of drug use by drivers in Scotland, benzodiazepines and NPS were less common findings in fatally injured drivers and motorcyclists than in drivers suspected of being impaired.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-26
Number of pages5
JournalForensic Science International
Early online date3 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • DUID
  • Fatality
  • Drive
  • Motorcyclist
  • Drug driving
  • Motor vehicle crash
  • Road traffic accident


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