• Alcohol interlocks ‘should be mandatory’ for vans, lorries and buses

  • The European Transport Safety Council wants alcohol interlocks to be fitted in all new professional vehicles, and retrofitted to cars used by repeat drink-driving offenders.

    These are two of the main recommendations from its report on how to reduce the 5,000 deaths still caused by drink-driving in the European Union each year.

    “It’s 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,” Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of ETSC said.  “Many fleets across Europe are already using interlock devices, it’s time they were made a standard feature.”

    In a major road safety package announced last month, the French government said all repeat drink-driving offenders would be required to install an alcohol interlock, an in-vehicle breath testing device that prevents the vehicle from being started if the driver is over the limit.  All coaches in France are already required to have the devices installed.

    And in September last year, Austria launched a national rehabilitation programme for drink-drivers that offers the option for drivers to install an interlock in order to get back behind the wheel before the full term of a driving ban has expired.  Belgium, Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands, Poland and Sweden have introduced similar programmes, as have the majority of US states.

    ETSC says the programmes have proven to be one of the most effective measures for tackling drink-driving and should be extended across the European Union.