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Don’t hold your breath for safe driving

Two new reports have encouraged passenger and goods vehicles be fitted with alcohol interlocks. An Italy-based consultancy firm for the EU named TRT has suggested that legislation should be brought in to enforce the motion for compulsory breathalyser technology – a stance that has been echoed by a Dutch-based research consortium but questioned by some.

Studies suggest that 6500 deaths could be avoided each year, simply by removing drink driving from our roads. And with the EU attempting to halve road deaths by 2020, several new measures are being considered to make a difference.

Thanks to a study replaced by consultancy TRT, it is thought that “alcohol interlocks” would make a ‘relatively important contribution’ to those plans.

The effectiveness of alcohol interlocking systems has already been demonstrated in Finland, where stats showed that drink drivers reoffending rate has dropped to just 6% when interlocks were used, compared to the usual 30% rate in 2013.

Money is a major issue to be considered however, as the report questioned the cost-effectiveness of this solution – particularly for vans. Also, a second report commissioned by a Dutch research consortium raised concerns over a lack of ‘stakeholder support’.

The general consensus, however, is that making alcohol interlocks compulsory would go some way to preventing unnecessary deaths on Europe’s roads and could provide a ‘robust net benefit to society’.

Both the EU and Dutch reports were keen to consider ways of making the device more widely used. These included standardisation of devices across Europe. Furthermore, the possibility of standardising all blood-alcohol limits across the continent were also considered, as well as finessing drink-drive legislation, as this would make introducing the device across the board much simpler.

Antonio Avenoso, executive director of ETSC, allayed fears over costs, saying: “The fact is that bold EU legislation would, in itself, drive innovation and cost reduction in the market for these devices.

“If, for example, the EU made installation mandatory in all commercial vehicles and required their use for all drink driving offenders, then we would see a rush of innovation and new players entering the market to deliver reliable, unobtrusive devices at low cost.

“We know that alcohol interlock devices work because we have evidence from several EU countries that show reduced re-offending rates.”



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