Clinical detection of alcohol involvement (AI) and its recording (ethyl sign) in accident patients was evaluated by comparing the ethyl signs with blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) in 1012 injury victims. Of the 337 BAC-positive cases 50% had a positive ethyl sign, while an additional 13% had some reference to alcohol in their patient notes. Thus, the overall recording rate was 63%. Computer analysis of the statistics from the same emergency station revealed positive ethyl signs in 13.5% of all the 44 372 patients in 1973. The drunken victims of falls (44%) and fights & assaults (26%) formed the main bulk (70%) of all drunken injury patients. Ethyl sign was found to be a specific, though not a sensitive, indicator of AI and a useful device for studying the strain alcohol places upon the emergency services, statistically.