Out of the 1,300 drivers suspected of drunk driving by the police this year, around 40% of them were of a foreign nationality Morgunblaðið, Mbl.is, and RÚV reported. For reference, only 7% of Iceland is of a foreign nationality.
A total of 670 individuals have been suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and other intoxicants, while 622 have been suspected of driving under the influence of just alcohol. This is a 41% increase for the drunks, and 53% increase for those that are suspected of also potentially having had some of the illegal stuff.
Morgunblaðið interviewed Helgi Gunnarsson, a criminologist, who says that the increase is mostly due to increased vigilance among the police. According to Helgi, the largest individual group apprehended is foreign men, the reason being that comparatively there is a lot of them, they don’t stay for very long, and there is a cultural difference towards drunk driving in Scandinavia and many other European countries.
“We need to reach this group and get the message across to them,” Helgi said. “The police doesn’t pick who they stop, and I think that the numbers are screaming at us that we need to communicate to these groups.”
Alcohol delays cognitive skills and hand-eye coordination, making it very dangerous to drive. If you are going out, the Grapevine urges you to appoint a designated driver, get a cab, or find a place to stay locally.