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Society

Nearly Half of Greek Drivers Say They’ve Been Drunk Behind The Wheel

ATHENS – It’s rare to see people drunk in public in Greece, where the legal drinking age is 18, but even children can buy beer at kiosks without being questioned. However, behind the wheel is a different story, with 44% of those surveyed admitting they have driven while intoxicated.

There has been a significant drop in the number of alcohol-related fatal driving accidents since 2000, but a poll of 2,191 people conducted by Ierax Analytix for the EUROKTEO MOT center in Thessaloniki revealed that nearly half admitted to driving after drinking.

This percentage has risen compared to surveys from previous years, especially compared to 2018 when the European Road Safety Observatory reported that 19% admitted they drove under the influence at least once in the last 30 days, still the fifth highest percentage in the European Union.

In 2013, there were 30,853 drunk driving violations, according to data published last year by the Road Safety Observatory of the National Technical University of Athens. It’s unusual for police to set up road checks for inebriation.

By 2023, this number had reached 33,394. After significant decreases, violations dropped to 24,533 in 2022 but have been increasing since, with no reasons given for the trend nor an explanation for the earlier rise before the decline.

The number of fatal road accidents in Greece remains alarmingly high compared to the other 26 EU member states. Although the number of deaths is lower than before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, it increased in the two years following.

Compared to the rest of the EU, Greece was the fourth worst in 2022 in fatalities per million inhabitants (71), with experts citing poor driving behavior as a contributing factor. The EU average is 46 deaths per million inhabitants.

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