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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 […]

Alcohol interlock programmes finally get a boost in France

Alcohol interlock programmes finally get a boost in France

Three French départements are trialling wider use of alcohol interlocks in the fight against drink driving offences. Drivers who have had their license suspended for a drink driving offence will be able to get back behind the wheel if they agree to install an alcohol interlock at their own expense and to accept medical and psychological check-ups. The programme, which requires authorisation of a doctor and the local administrator responsible for driving licenses, should lead to more drivers using the devices. Judges in criminal […]

New calls for a lower drink driving limit in England and Wales

New calls for a lower drink driving limit in England and Wales

The legal drink drive limit should be lowered in England and Wales to help cut alcohol-related collisions according to an association of English local councils and fire and rescue authorities. The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils and all fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales, is calling on the Government to drop the current Blood Alcohol Limit (BAC) from 0.8 to 0.5g/l. England and Wales have one of the highest drink drive limits in the world and the […]

Irish drink driving law delayed after pressure from pub owners

Irish drink driving law delayed after pressure from pub owners

The Irish transport minister Shane Ross has criticised pub owners for pressure which has led to delays in the passing of a new drink driving law in the Irish parliament. The new proposals, announced earlier this year, would see drivers caught with a blood alcohol level between the legal limit of 0.5g/l and 0.8g/l receiving an automatic three month ban. Under current laws such drivers receive only penalty points and a fine, with bans only automatically issued for drivers found with higher BAC levels.  […]

Spain looking to apply zero tolerance alcohol limits for novice and professional drivers

Spain looking to apply zero tolerance alcohol limits for novice and professional drivers

The Spanish Director General of Traffic has announced new measures targeted at reducing drink driving. The plans, announced following a meeting of the government’s road safety committee in May, include cutting the drink drive limit for professional and novice drivers to zero and suspending the driving licenses of anyone caught drink driving twice in two years. Traffic victims groups said the measures do not go far enough, and that drivers ‘don’t care’ if they lose their driving license. They recommend confiscating vehicles from repeat […]

83% of drink drivers are men

83% of drink drivers are men

New figures from Belgium confirm that drink driving remains an overwhelmingly male problem representing 83% of those caught drink driving. The data, revealed by interior minister Jan Jambon in March, showed men made up an even higher proportion of drug drivers (94%). Data from across Europe has shown that men in general are more prone to risky behaviour on the roads.   But exposure also plays a role, as men are more likely to drive and drive more than women, on average. Research by ETSC […]

Safety groups back tougher UK penalties for causing a road death

Safety groups back tougher UK penalties for causing a road death

More than 9,000 people responded to a recent UK Ministry of Justice consultation on proposals to increase prison sentences for people that cause death by dangerous driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The government said the response was one of the largest of any recent consultation and included responses from victims’ groups, bereaved families, road safety organisations and charities. The proposals include an increase in the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving or driving under the influence of […]

Belgium strengthens alcohol interlock programme

Belgium strengthens alcohol interlock programme

The Belgian Minister of Mobility François Bellot is planning to strengthen drink driving laws to require judges to impose alcohol interlocks on recidivist and high level first time offenders and in cases of drunkenness. Belgium’s alcohol interlock programme began in September 2013, but judges have only imposed the requirement in 42 cases. By far the most common sanction since then was a temporary driving ban, imposed on 19,510 individuals. Mr Bellot is preparing legal changes that would require judges to impose alcohol interlocks to […]

English back lower drink drive limits

English back lower drink drive limits

There have been renewed calls for a lower drink drive limit in England after a survey found that more than three quarters of people would support such a move. Drink driving deaths in Great Britain have remained static since 2010 at 240 deaths a year, despite an overall reduction in fatalities. Scotland reduced its drink driving limit from 0.8 g/l to 0.5g/l two years ago. Northern Ireland is set to follow soon. David Davies, Executive Director of PACTS said: “The number of deaths involving […]

Dutch attempt to unblock alcohol interlock programme

Dutch attempt to unblock alcohol interlock programme

A six-party coalition in the Netherlands is asking the government to find a solution to reopen the Dutch alcohol interlock programme to new participants after legal challenges put the scheme on hold last year. The Dutch programme began in 2011, and had more than 5000 participants by 2014. But a legal challenge last year resulted in the suspension of the programme after the Supreme Court concluded that the costs of participation, borne by the participants, came in addition to fines – an effective double […]

Austria prepares legal basis for alcohol interlocks

Austria prepares legal basis for alcohol interlocks

The Austrian government is updating its driver licensing laws in preparation for the launch of its alcohol interlock programme next year. Austria is the eighth EU member state to introduce the measure. The programme, which will run initially for a five-year period, was announced last summer, following successful trials. The legal changes also include separate measures targeted at young and novice drivers.  The driving license probationary period will be extended to three years from the current two.  In addition, moped riders will only be […]

Study confirms importance of coupling interlock programmes with rehabilitation courses

Study confirms importance of coupling interlock programmes with rehabilitation courses

A new report has confirmed that alcohol interlock programmes are most effective at reducing recidivism when combined with rehabilitation programmes. The study, published in Alcoholism: clinical & experimental research, found that in the 12-48 months following the removal of an alcohol interlock, recidivism by those drivers who had also followed an alcohol use disorder programme was 32% lower than those that had only used the interlock device. The research was based on data from the U.S. state of Florida’s alcohol interlock programme.  The Florida […]

Lithuania moves towards zero tolerance on alcohol for all drivers

Lithuania moves towards zero tolerance on alcohol for all drivers

Lithuania is considering extending its zero BAC limit to all drivers. The proposal is one of the measures announced by the leader of the political party that won the general election in October. Commercial and novice drivers are already subject to a zero BAC limit. Other drivers are permitted a maximum level of 0.4 g/l. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia are the only other European countries that apply a zero-tolerance policy across the board. No timetable has been given for when the […]

Young men targeted in Christmas drink drive campaigns

Young men targeted in Christmas drink drive campaigns

Official drink driving campaigns are increasingly using social media to reach target groups. The UK government’s Think! campaign is using events such as major football games and video game launches to point out to young males what they could miss out on if they have one extra pint.  The social media images use messages written on the side of beer glasses to get the message across. The campaign specifically targets young males, as figures show they account for almost two thirds of drink drivers […]

Austria to introduce alcohol interlock programme next year

Austria to introduce alcohol interlock programme next year

Transport Minister Jörg Leichtfried has announced that convicted drink drivers in Austria will be given the option of installing an alcohol interlock in their vehicles from next year, rather than face a driving ban. Every year about 26,000 people in Austria have their driver’s license revoked for drink driving, according to figures cited by the Austrian Press Agency. The government says the optional scheme will be particularly attractive to people who rely on their cars for their job, and expects demand for the interlock […]

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