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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

Swiss cancellation of alcohol interlock programme will make road safety targets harder to reach

Swiss cancellation of alcohol interlock programme will make road safety targets harder to reach

The Swiss parliament has voted to cancel the planned introduction of alcohol interlocks for drink-driving offenders in Switzerland in a move described by Swiss road safety experts as ‘incomprehensible’. The alcohol interlock programme, part of Switzerland’s Via sicura road safety plan (which had previously received parliamentary support) – would have allowed people whose driving license had been withdrawn because of repeated drink-driving to be able to get back behind the wheel. The measure, the most effective available for tackling repeat drink-driving offences, now faces […]

Call for mandatory alcohol interlocks in vans, lorries and buses across the EU

Call for mandatory alcohol interlocks in vans, lorries and buses across the EU

New report shows more than 5000 deaths a year in EU still caused by drink-driving Member States asked to increase enforcement and introduce rehabilitation programmes for drink-driving offenders The EU should require 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 the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), authors of a new report looking at how to reduce the 5000 deaths still caused by drink-driving in the […]

Safer speed limits and boost for alcohol interlocks as France announces major road safety push

Safer speed limits and boost for alcohol interlocks as France announces major road safety push

Two lane roads with no separating guard rail in France will have their default speed limit reduced from 90 to 80 km/h and alcohol interlocks will be required for recidivist drink driving offenders as part of the French government’s latest road safety crack-down. The measures, announced by the Prime Minister earlier this month, also include the possibility of suspending the license of a driver using a mobile phone at the wheel. The 80km/h limit has led to a backlash from motoring groups and on […]

Austria launches alcohol interlock rehabilitation programme

Austria launches alcohol interlock rehabilitation programme

Austria has launched a voluntary rehabilitation programme for drink driving offenders using alcohol interlocks following successful trials run in 2012 and 2013. Convicted drink drivers can opt in to the scheme to enable them to get back behind the wheel when they have completed half of their driving ban period (subject to a minimum of four months).  The programme, which launched in September, is the first to require participants to meet regularly with a mentor. Data from the devices will be monitored and violations […]

Irish parliament debates automatic disqualification for drink drivers

Irish parliament debates automatic disqualification for drink drivers

ETSC has joined calls for a tougher law on drink driving in Ireland.  The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2017 is currently working its way through the Irish legislative process but has faced opposition from pub owners and members of parliament representing rural areas. One of the government’s proposed changes is automatic disqualification of drivers found with a blood alcohol level of between 0.5 and 0.8g/l.  Currently offenders caught in that range face a €200 fine and three penalty points with only those caught over […]

Swedish government backs research project to develop next generation interlocks

Swedish government backs research project to develop next generation interlocks

A new project launched by the Swedish Transport Administration and the police is investigating future technological solutions to prevent drink driving. The project will investigate in-car sensors that can check alcohol levels through a simple touch or by detecting the driver’s breath circulating in the vehicle.  The transport administration says such technologies have the potential to free up police from carrying out time intensive road side breath tests. The new sensor project has just begun and is expected to be completed by 2021. About a […]

Majority support lower BAC limits in England and Wales, 50 years after first UK blood alcohol limits

Majority support lower BAC limits in England and Wales, 50 years after first UK blood alcohol limits

50 years after the UK first introduced breath testing and blood alcohol limits, a motorists’ organisation has backed calls to reduce the legal blood-alcohol limit for drivers in England and Wales for the first time. While the 0.8g/l limit has been in place since a legal maximum was introduced in 1967, Scotland took the decision to cut to 0.5 in December 2014 and Northern Ireland is in the process of doing the same. The limit in almost all other European countries is 0.5 or […]

Billionaire’s EUR 25,000 drink driving fine puts means-tested penalties in the spotlight

Billionaire’s EUR 25,000 drink driving fine puts means-tested penalties in the spotlight

A Norwegian billionaire that recorded a BAC level three times higher than the legal limit has been banned from driving and handed a 250,000 krone fine (EUR 25,000).  But the fine could have been much higher as, under Norwegian law, fines are linked to monthly income and in some cases overall wealth. 22 year-old Katharina G. Andresen, one of the world’s youngest billionaires, reportedly could have been faced with a fine worth up to EUR 5 million.  However the judge concluded that Ms Andresen’s […]

Finland: overwhelming majority support in-car technology to prevent drink driving

Finland: overwhelming majority support in-car technology to prevent drink driving

A survey carried out for ETSC’s Finnish member Liikenneturva has found that nine out of ten Finns have a positive view of in-car technology that can prevent drink driving such as alcohol interlocks. Finland has had a nationwide rehabilitation programme for drink drivers, coupled with the use of alcohol interlocks fitted in offenders’ vehicles since 2008. A 2013 evaluation found the effects on participants to be positive and that the programme has prevented 12,000 instances of driving under the influence of alcohol. The poll […]

Belgium: survey says three quarters of drug drivers mix with alcohol

Belgium: survey says three quarters of drug drivers mix with alcohol

Three quarters of people that admitted to driving after taking drugs, usually cannabis, in a poll said they had also mixed the drug taking with alcohol, according to AWSR, an ETSC member in Belgium. Roughly 1 in 10 of those polled admitted to drink driving over the previous twelve months, twice as many as admitted taking drugs before driving. AWSR was particularly concerned about the levels of ignorance of the risks associated with driving under the influence of drugs. Almost half believed that taking […]

Drivers in France take more risks when driving for work

Drivers in France take more risks when driving for work

Drivers on work-related journeys in France are more likely to engage in risky behaviours than those on private trips according to a report by Axa, an insurer.   The research found that 88% of drivers speed on work business, compared to 82% on private trips. Similar differences were found for driving while fatigued, distracted driving and driving under the influence of alcohol.   The study was carried out before legal changes that now require companies in France to reveal who was driving a company vehicle in the case […]

Statement from ETSC on the proposed revision to the Irish Drink Driving Law

Statement from ETSC on the proposed revision to the Irish Drink Driving Law

ETSC supports the Irish government’s proposal to strengthen the drink driving law. The negative effect of alcohol use on road safety is undisputed. Driving under the influence of alcohol is responsible for approximately a quarter of all road fatalities in the European Union. Some voices in the public debate in Ireland have questioned the impact of drinking one or two alcoholic drinks before driving.  The scientific evidence is unequivocal on this: any amount of alcohol has a negative impact on driving ability. Why do […]

Award-winning Switzerland u-turns on alcohol interlocks

Award-winning Switzerland u-turns on alcohol interlocks

Switzerland has announced plans to cancel implementation of an alcohol interlock programme for convicted drink drivers one week after receiving ETSC’s PIN Award for long-term efforts to reduce road safety. In a report published on 28 June, the Swiss government published a report showing its Via Secura programme had been successful in cutting collisions. At the same the government announced that it was cancelling plans to introduce an alcohol interlock programme for drink driving offenders in 2019 citing cost concerns. The announcement came just […]

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