In-Car Enforcement Technologies Today

  • October 17, 2005

This ETSC Policy Paper on “In-Car Enforcement Technologies Today” brings together evidence on how the development and introduction of three “compliance enhancing in-car technologies” can contribute to saving lives in Europe. It aims to promote innovative enforcement solutions, amongst manufacturers and policymakers, that help to reduce the collision frequency, maximise casualty reduction and minimise injury risks. The three areas prioritised in the EC Recommendation on Enforcement in the Field of Traffic Law are speeding, drink driving and seat-belt use.

This Policy Paper identifies three technologies addressing each one of these areas. These include the further extension of seat-belt reminders to encourage greater compliance in seat-belt wearing, the introduction of alcohol inter-locks to tackle drink driving recidivism and set standards in commercial transport and thirdly, the development of Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA), informing or ensuring that a driver does not break the speed limit. As such this Policy Paper forms part of the ETSC “Enforcement Programme”, monitoring the application of law in the field of road traffic across the EU 25 Member States since 2004.

EU governments and decision-makers can do a lot to actively influence consumer choice in requesting these life-saving devices. The Policy Paper outlines the kind of devices that are currently available and their stage of development. It also presents figures illustrating the life-saving potential and cost-effectiveness of each new technology and the state of advancement of acceptance by policymakers, manufacturers and consumers. Efforts made by car-manufacturers to ensure the safe use of their products with respect to issues such as speed, seat-belts and alcohol are also discussed. The level of current introduction of each of the three technologies is also presented with examples of best practice from leading countries. Finally, policy recommendations for the European and national level and for manufacturers are presented, identifying what must happen to bring about the further uptake of these life-saving technologies.

The main recommendation recognises that these three major technologies are at different stages of development. However, each one of them should be piloted by specific target groups including public authorities and commercial transport. In parallel, their “stronger” versions (i.e. alcohol inter-locks with a re-testing function, mandatory ISA which prevents a car from exceeding the speed limit, seat-belt inter-locks) should be used in offender programmes. Moreover EU governments and decision-makers can also do a lot to actively influence consumer choice in requesting these life-saving devices.