Fit alcohol interlocks on all new vans, lorries and buses – ETSC

11.28 | 20 February 2018 | | 1 comment

Alcohol interlocks should be fitted in all new vehicles used by professional drivers – and retrofitted to cars used by repeat drink-driving offenders – a new report has concluded.

The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) report, published on 20 February, looks at how to reduce the 5,000 deaths caused annually by drink-driving in the European Union.

Alongside the call for mandatory alcohol interlocks in vans, lorries and buses, the report asks EU member states to increase enforcement and introduce rehabilitation programmes for drink-drive offenders.

The report points to programmes across Europe, including in France where as of last month all repeat offenders are required to install an alcohol interlock – an in-car breath testing device that prevents a vehicle from being started if the driver is over the limit.  

In Austria, a national rehabilitation programme for drink-drivers was introduced in September 2017 which offers offenders the option to install an interlock in order to have their licence back before the full term of a ban has expired.

The ETSC says programmes such as these have ‘proven to be one of the most effective measures for tackling drink-driving’ and should be extended across the EU.

Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the ETSC, said: “High levels of enforcement are critical to solving Europe’s drink-driving problem.

“And for those drivers who carry on getting behind the wheel after drinking, despite checks and sanctions, alcohol interlocks are an important and effective way of getting people rehabilitated.

“It’s also crucial that drivers entrusted with professional vehicles carrying goods or passengers must never be allowed to get behind the wheel when they are over the limit.  

“Many fleets across Europe are already using interlock devices, it’s time they were made a standard feature.”


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    Another piece of nonsense from the EU. Professional drivers must have the interlock, but nobody else. What nonsense. However, there is another issue to consider. Evidential machines are big, slow and expensive. How therefore will the in vehicle device be judged to be accurate? What about the cost of calibration? Who will do this and how often? What about the accuracy of the sample? Is it simply generally sniffing the air? If so, a couple of boozed up mates will lock up the car.

    What happens if the machine under-reads? Is the driver guilty of drink driving or have all reasonable precautions been taken. What if it over-reads and the vehicle is incorrectly immobilised? Would a reading be valid in court?

    You will never stop drink driving. That said, punishment for repeat offenders should be far harsher and those who do not get the message should face a lifetime ban with an automatic long jail sentence (10 years+) if caught driving whilst disqualified or with a revoked licence.

    Kevan Chippindall-Higgin, Southsea
    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

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