Long leg hair used to revoke a driving licence in Switzerland

Long leg hair used to revoke a driving licence in Switzerland

While we often hear stories about people losing their driving licence after dangerous driving or failing to stop for the police, we don’t imagine that some inanimate parts of our own bodies can be used to catch us red-handed. That was exactly the case given to the Federal Court in Switzerland this week, which ruled that a man’s leg hair was long enough to be used to revoke his licence.

Leg hair used to revoke Swiss driving licence

According to a report given to Blick, the story starts in June 2021, when a man from Solothurn was caught driving drunk. When he was breathalysed, the emergency services took a reading that showed the driver was far over the limit.

Because of the high reading, the Motor Vehicle Control Department (MFK) suspected that he might be a repeat offender, ordering a full medical examination that included analysing a person’s hair. The Federal Supreme Court explained that using a hair sample can actually show whether a person has continued to drink excessively over the past few months.

Hair on the leg had grown long enough to be used as evidence

However, one major problem reared its shiny head: the man was bald. Officials explained that they needed a hair sample that was at least three centimetres long, and that if they couldn’t find any hair, they could not use the method as proof that he drank excessively. Luckily, officers were able to find a solution.

It turned out that the man’s leg hair had grown long enough for it to be used as evidence. Once submitted to the University of Zurich for analysis, the sample suggested that the man had "on average, heavy, chronic alcohol consumption at least in the last four to eight months" before the hair was removed.

Federal Supreme Court in Switzerland rules against bald driver

Perhaps ruing the fact that he hadn’t taken up the modern male fashion to shave his legs, the man appealed the ruling, with the case ending up in the Federal Court in Lausanne. There a judge ruled that the hair was indeed long enough to be used as evidence, regardless of where the hair was sourced from, and that “the results provide direct information about a subject’s alcohol consumption during a certain period of time.” 

Therefore, the MFK removed the man’s licence indefinitely due to a “lack of fitness to drive.” He is also on the line for 3.000 francs in legal and federal court costs - perhaps next time he should have shaved.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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