Norwegian drivers prove astonishingly sober

OSLO, Norway - Norway called out nearly its entire police force to test the country's drivers for alcohol before a new law goes into effect imposing tougher limits on blood alcohol content.

The drivers overwhelmingly passed.

The drunken driving test had been announced in advance in a campaign to raise awareness of the new alcohol limits that take effect Jan. 1.

The law lowers the blood alcohol threshold for drunken driving to 0.02 percent from the current 0.05 percent - the equivalent of one beer.

Five of the 37,500 drivers tested exceeded the current limit, while 11 others probably would have been over the lower limit, according to figures gathered from police districts.

''The idea wasn't to catch as many people as possible, but to inform them,'' said Trine Stensen Lunde of AlkoKutt, a government-funded group urging temperance. ''It is encouraging that so many obey the law, but of course this was announced in advance in a major campaign.''

A level of 0.05 percent is punishable by jail, fines and loss of driving privileges. Those who exceed the new limit but remain below the old one will be fined.


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