SWOV Catalogus


A Belgian qualitative field trial on alcohol ignition interlocks.
20051141 s ST (In: ST 20051141 CD-ROM)
Silverans, P. Vanlaar, W. & Drevet, M.
In: Young Researchers Seminar 2005, arranged by European Conference of Transport Research Institutes ECTRI, Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories FEHRL and Forum of European Road Safety Research Institutes (FERSI), The Hague, The Netherlands, 11-13 May 2005, 12 p., 22 ref.

Samenvatting An alcohol ignition interlock is a device installed in a vehicle that requires the driver to provide a breath sample every time an attempt is made to start the vehicle. If the driver has a breath alcohol concentration above a specified threshold value, the ignition is locked and the vehicle cannot be started. Drivers are also required to perform re-tests at random intervals when driving. As the interlock only interferes with the ignition, the motor is not shut down during driving in case of a positive alcohol test or in case of a refusal of the re-test. In these situations the driver is warned about the infraction by means of an alarm. As all test results, test attempts and attempts to circumvent the system are electronically recorded, the drivers are however held accountable for their test results. The drivers have to justify all positive tests or other anomalous results to the authorities responsible for the program. Extensive studies carried out in the United States and in Canada since the 1980s show that when embedded in a comprehensive monitoring program, alcohol ignition interlocks lead to 40-95% reductions in the rate of repeat driving under the influence offences of convicted offenders. This reduction in drink driving behaviour is however lost upon interlock removal, as systematically testified by comparable re-offence rates for formerly alcohol ignition interlock experimental groups and no-alcohol ignition interlock control groups. It is estimated that there are currently about 65.000 alcohol ignition interlock devices in use throughout North America. So, in over two decades of alcohol ignition interlock use, a couple of hundreds of thousands of conductors had their car equipped with an alcohol ignition interlock in North America. These figures are in sharp contrast with the dawn of alcohol ignition interlock research and application in Europe. Only in recent years some initiatives concerning alcohol ignition interlocks have been developed in Europe. The most known is the Swedish program, which will lead to the installation of more than 20,000 alcohol ignition interlocks in Swedish commercial vehicles over the next few years. Apart from the countries conducting field trials in the framework described in the present paper (Belgium, Norway, Spain and Germany), other countries like Finland, the UK and the Netherlands are also running test trials and/or are preparing the legal implementation of an alcohol ignition interlock program and a large-scale application of alcohol ignition interlocks. (Author/publisher)
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