Sweden has the lowest rate of alcohol abuse and drunk driving in Europe, but it was not always so. Alcohol abuse was common in the 19th Century, and by tradition drinking in Scandinavian countries meant drinking to intoxication.
High taxation of alcohol. Every liter of vodka is taxed to the tune of about $25. Strict regulation. Alcohol, apart from light beer, is sold at state-licensed stores only. The stores are not open at night. Cultural attitudes. In many countries it's common to have a drink any evening after work. In Sweden, drinking during the week is generally looked upon more or less how drinking during the day would be seen in the US. The weekends are for drinking - and it must be noted that getting drunk is not frowned upon then.
*********************************** If one has any doubts that laws can directly affect road safety, consider this: about 3 percent of Sweden's road fatalities involved alcohol. In the US, it's ten times that: about a third.
@ Dorthy: Over 80% of the cars sold in Sweden come with a manual transmission which forces you to pay attention when you drive. Driving an automatic causes you to be more relaxed and pay less attention when driving which results in more accidents when inebriated. I in no way condone drinking and driving. I am just stating a manual transmission requires you to pay more attention when driving. Its much harder to eat, do makeup or text while driving a manual. Perhaps people would pay more attention and not nod off to sleep or be too relaxed when driving if they had to drive a manual.