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Vans, lorries and buses should come with standard alcohol interlocks, says new report

Alcohol interlocks should be mandatory in all new professional vehicles and retrofitted to cars used by repeat drink-driving offenders.

The report shows more than 5,000 deaths a year in EU are still caused by drink-driving.
The report shows more than 5,000 deaths a year in EU are still caused by drink-driving.

That’s the finding of a new report from the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), looking at how to reduce the 5000 deaths still caused by drink-driving in the European Union each year.

Ahead of new European Commission vehicle safety regulation expected in May 2018, the ETSC is calling for a standard electronic interface to be fitted to all new cars to make installation of an interlock easier when required by law. The organisation also says the devices should be fitted as standard on professional vehicles.

Alcohol interlock laws for drink driving offenders and/ or professional drivers have already been introduced in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Poland and Sweden, while a number of countries also run reduced drink-drive limits for novice drivers.

The report also highlights the progress made by EU countries including Estonia, Latvia and Denmark where deaths attributed to drink-driving have been dropping faster than other road deaths.

In Estonia, drink-driving deaths dropped by 90% over the last decade thanks in part to the highest level of alcohol roadside breath tests in the EU and introduction of a near zero tolerance (0.2 g/l) Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit for all drivers.

Antonio Avenoso, executive director of 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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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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