Quality assurance in road traffic analyses in Switzerland

Forensic Sci Int. 2010 May 20;198(1-3):7-10. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2009.12.021. Epub 2010 Jan 18.


Swiss laboratories performing toxicological road traffic analyses have been authorized for many years by the Swiss Federal Roads Office (FEDRO). In 2003 FEDRO signed a contract with the Swiss Society of Legal Medicine (SSLM) to organize the complete quality management concerning road traffic analyses. For this purpose a multidisciplinary working group was established under the name of "road traffic commission (RTC)". RTC has to organize external quality control, to interpret the results of these controls, to perform audits in the laboratories and to report all results to FEDRO. Furthermore the working group can be mandated for special tasks by FEDRO. As an independent organization the Swiss Center for Quality Control (CSCQ) in Geneva manages the external quality controls in the laboratory over the past years. All tested drugs and psychoactive substances are listed in a federal instruction. The so-called 'zero tolerance substances' (THC, morphine, cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, MDMA and MDEA) and their metabolites have to be tested once a year, all other substances (benzodiazepines, zolpidem, phenobarbital, etc.) periodically. Results over the last years show that all laboratories are generally within the confidence interval of +/-30% of the mean value. In cases of non-conformities measures have to be taken immediately and reported to the working group. External audits are performed triennially but accredited laboratories can combine this audit with the approval of the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS). During the audits a special checklist filled in by the laboratory director is assessed. Non-conformities have to be corrected. During the process of establishing a new legislation, RTC had an opportunity of advising FEDRO. In collaboration with FEDRO, RTC and hence SSLM can work actively on improving of quality assurance in road traffic toxicological analyses, and has an opportunity to bring its professional requests to the federal authorities.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Automobile Driving / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / blood
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Forensic Toxicology
  • Humans
  • Laboratories / standards*
  • Management Audit
  • Narcotics / blood
  • Quality Control
  • Substance Abuse Detection / standards
  • Switzerland


  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Narcotics
  • Ethanol