Call for mandatory breath-test locks in HGVs across Europe

The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has called for mandatory alcohol interlocks to be fitted on HGVs and lorries, as well as being retrofitted to cars used by repeat drink-driving offenders, to reduce deaths caused by drink-driving.

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-car 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.

In September 2017, 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 also introduced similar programmes.

The ETSC has said that these measures should be extended across the European Union, as part of a review of vehicle safety regulation by the European Commission expected in May 2018.
Antonio Avenoso, executive director of ETSC, said: “High levels of enforcement are critical to solving Europe’s drink-driving problem. And for those drivers who carry on getting behind the wheel after drinking, despite checks and sanctions, alcohol interlocks are an important and effective way of getting people rehabilitated.

“It’s also 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. Many fleets across Europe are already using interlock devices, it’s time they were made a standard feature.”