As dry January sweeps across the UK, an alcohol and drug safety expert is calling on Government and employers to install alcohol interlock devices to help save lives.
In Britain, around one in seven of all road deaths every year involve drink-drivers with the most recent Department for Transport statistics revealing that drink-driving deaths rose by 20% in 2016 to 240 casualties – the most significant year-on-year rise for over a decade.
Safety campaigners are now urging the government to tackle this shocking statistic by making it compulsory for convicted drink-drivers to use alcohol interlocks – a device that is fitted to the ignition of a vehicle to prevent it from being started until a clear breath sample is given.
The interlock devices are already in use or being trialled in much of Europe including Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Belgium and the Netherlands as well as in North America and Australia. In fact, in Australia, where interlocks have been used in the state of Victoria for 11 years, drink-drivers were prevented from starting their cars on 250,000 occasions.
Suzannah Robin is an alcohol and drug safety expert at AlcoDigital and has worked with numerous companies to address their drug and alcohol testing requirements. She is urging the UK to follow Europe’s lead. She said:
Interlock devices are proven to reduce drink-driving incidents and have been working effectively in Europe for many years. The devices can also be programmed to require drivers to pull over and provide further samples at random points during journeys. If a positive breath test is detected, the vehicle will not start.
In Europe, where excess alcohol contributes to a quarter of road deaths, use of interlocks is thought to be up to 95% more effective in preventing drink-drive re-offending than measures such as licence withdrawal or fines.
If the UK were to follow Europe’s lead, it would go a long way towards preventing some of the needless casualties caused by drink-driver incidents every year. Drink-drivers should not get behind the wheel, where they are able to cause devastating damage to innocent people’s lives. Interlock devices have been proven to prevent drink-drivers from getting behind the wheel in the first place. We should demand our government acts to introduce their use to make our roads safer.
Alcohol and Drug Testing in the Workplace training courses can be booked through AlcoDigital.