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It’s time for a zero drink-driving limit across the EU

ETSC has launched a short video explaining why the EU needs a common drink-driving limit set at zero. Watch/share on YouTube and Twitter.

Croatia increases penalties for drink-driving and other traffic offences

Croatia increases penalties for drink-driving and other traffic offences

The Croatian parliament has passed amendments to the law on road safety foreseeing higher penalties for traffic offences. According to the changes, agreed earlier this month, eight of the most serious offences will incur a fine of HRK 15,000 (EUR 2000) and HRK 20,000 (EUR 2700) instead of HRK 5,000 (EUR 675) and HRK 10,000 (EUR 1350) respectively as was the case until now. The fines apply to offences such as driving in the opposite direction on motorways, exceeding the speed limit by more […]

UK government to review potential of alcohol interlocks

UK government to review potential of alcohol interlocks

The UK will look at the feasibility of adding the use of alcohol interlocks to drink-driver rehabilitation programmes, it has been announced. The review of the policy measure will focus on how to ensure the technology is “both accessible and reliable” according to a statement on road safety plans published in July, just before the changeover to the new government led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. There is already a good range of evidence from several countries that alcohol interlocks cut reoffending rates both […]

Belgium: call for zero tolerance for novice drivers caught drink-driving

Belgium: call for zero tolerance for novice drivers caught drink-driving

Vias Institute, one of ETSC’s Belgian members, has reiterated calls for a zero alcohol limit for novice drivers – as a survey showed most youngsters approved of such a move. Most EU Member States now have a lower Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit for novice drivers of 0.2 or below.  Belgium, along with Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland and Scotland have a limit of 0.5, the rest of the UK has a limit of 0.8. See ETSC’s latest list of BAC limits. According to an opinion […]

Analysis of who drink-drives highlighted in OECD report

Analysis of who drink-drives highlighted in OECD report

A new OECD report New Directions in Data-Driven Transport Safety, has highlighted research carried out in the UK which could aid targeting of measures to reduce drink-driving. Ursachi et al. (2018) mined a police crash database for drink-drivers involved in collisions, and matched their home postcodes with a commercial geodemographic segmentation system called Experian Mosaic. The authors were able to categorise these drivers based on lifestyle factors.  The system offers insights on how to reach these groups through marketing channels: specific newspapers or magazines, […]

Lithuania: alcohol interlock programme launching in January

Lithuania: alcohol interlock programme launching in January

The Lithuanian parliament has passed legislation permitting the use of an alcohol interlock as an alternative to a driving ban from next year. Lithuania is the ninth EU Member State to introduce an alcohol interlock-based programme for rehabilitating drink-driving offenders. The Baltic country has made very significant improvements in road safety in recent years, with a 43% reduction in annual road deaths since 2010, the second biggest drop among EU countries. Since 2001, deaths have declined by 76%. Amongst other measures, the country has […]

German expert conference recommends alcohol interlocks

German expert conference recommends alcohol interlocks

A major conference of experts in road safety and traffic enforcement has recommended the introduction of alcohol interlock-based rehabilitation programmes in Germany. The recommendations of the 57th annual “Traffic Day” conference (Deutscher Verkehrsgerichtstag) included the suggestion of the scheme, as an alternative to a driving ban or withdrawal of the driving license, highlighting the educational benefits. The German Road Safety Council (DVR), ETSC’s German founding member, welcomed the recommendations. According to an opinion survey carried out by DVR last year, German drivers underestimate the […]

Half of drug drivers involved in fatal collisions in France were also over the drink drive limit

Half of drug drivers involved in fatal collisions in France were also over the drink drive limit

New data from France confirms the large overlap between drink and drug driving in fatal collisions. Among the 439 drivers that tested positive for drugs after being involved in a fatal collision in 2017, half (224) also had a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level above the legal limit in France of 0,5 g/l. The proportion is similar for non-fatal collisions. The figures were published in the latest road safety annual report from France’s national road safety observatory. The injury risk of drugs combined with […]

German drivers “underestimating” drink driving risk

German drivers “underestimating” drink driving risk

The German Road Safety Council (DVR), an ETSC member, says drivers are still underestimating the risks of drink-driving.  According to an opinion survey carried out for DVR by Ipsos in December, one in four respondents would drink one or two glasses of beer at a party within four hours and then drive home by car. DVR recommends a zero alcohol policy when driving.  “It’s best to stick to a clear rule,” said DVR Chief Executive Christian Kellner. “Those who drive, don’t drink; those who drink, […]

Malta cuts drink-driving limit for novice drivers by 75%

Malta cuts drink-driving limit for novice drivers by 75%

The United Kingdom is now the last EU Member State with a general blood alcohol limit of 0.8g/l, following a decision by Malta to switch to 0.5g/l. Scotland lowered its drink-driving limit to 0.5g/l, in line with most of Europe, in 2014. The rest of the UK remains at 0.8 despite estimates for PACTS, ETSC’s UK member, that a move to 0.5 could save 25 deaths and 95 serious injuries every year. The new Maltese traffic regulations also set a 0.2g/l limit for drivers of […]

Drink-driving deaths in the UK have not decreased since 2010

Drink-driving deaths in the UK have not decreased since 2010

New data on drink-driving collisions in the UK has been released by the Department for Transport. The figures for 2016, the latest year available, estimate deaths caused by drink driving at 230, a similar level to 2010. According to the research, the total number of collisions where at least one driver or rider was over the alcohol limit rose by 6% to 6,070 in 2016. In a 2017 report, ETSC’s UK member PACTS said that the UK government “does not appear to have a […]

Czech Republic debates tougher sanctions for drink-driving

Czech Republic debates tougher sanctions for drink-driving

Parliamentarians in the Czech Republic are considering tougher penalties for drink-driving. The leader of the CSSD party in the Parliament, Jan Chvojka is understood to be considering changes to the law that could include a lifetime ban for drivers that cause death while driving under the influence as well as longer prison sentences. The Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who is from the ANO 2011 party in the coalition government with the CSSD, is reportedly supportive of the tougher penalties. The UK government said in […]

Automatic driving bans in Ireland for drink-drivers above 0.5g/l

Automatic driving bans in Ireland for drink-drivers above 0.5g/l

The Irish parliament has approved tougher new penalties for drivers caught over the legal BAC limit of 0.5g/l. Under the new rules, drivers with a BAC between 0.5g/l and 0.8g/l will face an automatic three-month driving ban. The previous penalty for that offence was three penalty points, but no ban. The change in the law has faced a tortuous legislative journey after a handful of parliamentarians attempted to delay its adoption. Meanwhile ETSC’s Irish member the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has revealed that more […]

Road traffic bill passed by Irish Senate

Road traffic bill passed by Irish Senate

Stricter penalties for drink driving in Ireland are set to come into force after a new law was passed by the lower and upper houses of parliament. The Road Traffic Bill includes provisions for an automatic three-month driving ban for first-time offenders if caught with blood-alcohol levels of between 0.5 g/l and 0.8 g/l.  Drivers currently caught at these levels receive three penalty points and no driving ban. The bill had almost reached its final stage in its passage through the lower house of […]

Alcohol interlocks now mandatory in Belgium for high-level and repeat offenders

Alcohol interlocks now mandatory in Belgium for high-level and repeat offenders

Judges in Belgium will have to oblige high level or repeat drink-driving offenders to follow an alcohol interlock rehabilitation programme after new legal changes come into force on 1 July 2018. Previously the alcohol interlock requirement was a little-used legal option, but it will now become mandatory in most cases. According to research by VIAS, ETSC’s Belgian member, recidivism is reduced by 75% for those that install an alcohol interlock and follow the accompanying rehabilitation programme. Under the existing rules, only 67 drivers have […]

EU vehicle safety proposals to require standardised alcohol interlock interface

EU vehicle safety proposals to require standardised alcohol interlock interface

All new vehicles sold in the EU will feature a standardised interface to enable the fitment of aftermarket alcohol interlock devices, according to new EU vehicle safety standards proposed last month. The proposed requirement, part of a package of new vehicle safety standards, should make it simpler and cheaper to fit an alcohol interlock when a driver is required to do so by law.  Several EU countries have rehabilitation programmes for recidivist drink drivers that require installation of an interlock before a driver is […]

Ireland drink-driving law changes face filibuster

Ireland drink-driving law changes face filibuster

Stricter limits on drink-driving are being blocked in the Irish parliament by a small group of MPs opposed to the changes. The Road Traffic Bill includes provisions for an automatic three-month driving ban for first-time offenders if caught with blood-alcohol levels of between 0.5 g/l and 0.8 g/l.  Drivers currently caught at these levels receive three penalty points and no driving ban. The bill had almost reached its final stage in its passage through the lower house of the Irish parliament when a small […]

Spain: bus alcohol interlock plan proposed as data show drink-driving checks down by a third

Spain: bus alcohol interlock plan proposed as data show drink-driving checks down by a third

The committee on sustainable mobility of the Spanish parliament has proposed legal changes to require the installation of alcohol interlocks in all passenger vehicles with more than nine seats. The legal proposal agreed in May is similar to one already passed in France.  It was an initiative of the PSOE party which took over the leadership of a minority government in June when Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party lost a vote of no-confidence. Earlier this year, Spanish media reported that police enforcement checks for drink-driving […]

UK: PACTS fund will help develop more efficient roadside breath testing for UK police

UK: PACTS fund will help develop more efficient roadside breath testing for UK police

The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) has been awarded a grant by the UK transport minister to run a competition to encourage the development of mobile evidential breath testing instruments for use by UK police. Up to £350,000 (EUR 400,000) will be available to encourage manufacturers in the sector to invest in devices which meet the UK standard. Currently, when a UK driver provides a positive alcohol screening test by the roadside, the police are required to take the driver back to […]

Lithuania plans to introduce an alcohol interlock programme

Lithuania plans to introduce an alcohol interlock programme

The Lithuanian ministry of transport has announced plans to introduce a national alcohol interlock programme to tackle repeat drink-driving offences. Under the proposed measure, drivers found guilty of drink driving will be able to choose a shorter driving ban if they agree to install an interlock in their vehicle. Lithuania has previously trialled alcohol interlocks for professional drivers in school buses. Check out ETSC’s map of alcohol interlock use in Europe and our guide for policymakers

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