I have mixed feelings about the attitude toward alcohol in Sweden. I find it a bit difficult to stomach, in some ways. I am the type of person who likes a glass of wine with dinner, maybe two on a Friday or Saturday night. But I really am not a fan of getting drunk, and avoid it unless it is either a crayfish party or midsummers. This drinking style, in my experience, is a bit in contrast to typical Swedish drinking.
That said, one of the things that I respect most about the Swedes I have had the pleasure of partying with, is their attitude towards drunk driving. You just don't do it. There is no 'It's OK to drive after a beer, or a glass of wine.' like we learned in Driver's Ed. There is no mathematically calculating your weight and the amount of alcohol in a beverage.
You just don't get behind the wheel if you've had a drink.
The Swedish legal limit is quite low, and this is probably a main motivator in this issue. It is .02, compared to .08 in the US.
But drunk driving has a strange amount of social acceptance in the US. Maybe it's because we are so dependent on our cars, but I know several people who have lost their liscences due to drunk driving, who continue to drive after a few cold ones. Driving under the influence in the US is something many people think you just have to do if you live in a suburb.
Driving under the influence in Sweden remains pretty taboo. In Sweden most people take the bus, or the train, or a cab. Sometimes a designated driver will step up. Sometimes, although I question the sanity of this at times, people bike home instead. Other times people sleep over.
Another thing I noticed, after a party this weekend, was that some of the big drinkers refused to drive the next day. This makes perfect sense. I get it. But I can tell you, as someone who strongly opposes drunk driving, I never even thought about not driving the next day, and it was never discussed in Driver's Ed.
I will admit, that I drove the next day, to pick up Diner Breakfast, when I probably should have been off the road. Thankfully no one was hurt. I would never do that today.
So even if I bitch and moan occasionally about Swedish alcohol culture, Systembolaget, stor stark and other related things, I do think Swedes get the important part of it right, the part that saves a lot of lives.