Drink Driving Prevention - The Alcolock

Drink driving is a huge problem all around the world, resulting in many injuries and deaths on the roads each year. How a minority of drivers finds it impossible to stay off the alcohol when the majority of drivers can manage it is down right irresponsible. These drink drivers are not only putting themselves at risk but putting hundreds of innocent motorists at risk as well. The fact is that drink drivers have a lot to answer for and contribute to rising car insurance premiums to cover the claims resulting from their actions.

Now new technology being tested throughout Europe and already in service in the States could put an end to drink driving completely.

The Alcolock is a revolutionary piece of equipment that prevents the ignition from starting a car when the driver is drunk. The machine works through a connection to the ignition which in turn is connected to a breath analyser. When a motorist enters their vehicle they are required to give a breath sample via a tube connected to the machine. This breath is analysed and if it reads a level of alcohol above the legal limit the ignition of the car is prevented.

These devices are already in use in some parts of the USA and Canada and are generally fitted to convicted drink drivers cars. This allows the American and Canadian governments to help reduce the amount of known drink drivers on the roads. The locks in America require known offenders to give samples before a journey and at random intervals during the journey to avoid any cheating of the system.

Initial tests look promising...but some flaws need resolving

Tests in the UK and Sweden have proved positive but the machines have a few flaws that need to be ironed out. One Swedish tester reported having to blow into the machine 75 times before it would allow him to turn the ignition - all this after not touching a drop of alcohol. The manufacturers need to be sure that the equipment is fault-free before introducing it onto the market; it will not be received kindly if faults stop drivers that haven't touched a drop of alcohol from starting their engines.

Sweden is now fitting the devices to all new cars in a voluntary scheme which involves all the countries car manufacturers. By 2012 it will be compulsory that all new vehicles including commercial vehicles and buses are fitted with an Alcolock in Sweden. With one country taking these measures it is believed that Europe will have to sit up and take notice, maybe leading to a full European coverage of these devices in all new cars.

Unfortunately this raises issues on people's rights as stressed by the Association for British Drivers, which believes  making these machines compulsory would label everyone a criminal. The fact is it's the drink drivers that are raising our car insurance premiums and causing horrific accidents, so why should innocent parties be penalised every time they get in their car?

It's my opinion that Alcolocks should be fitted to convicted drink drivers' cars only and re-offending should result in a lifetime ban. If the government actually took a tougher stance on drink driving and imposed heavier penalties, maybe they could curb drink driving without the use of this technology, and maybe the responsible drivers amongst us could benefit from cheaper car insurance rather than being penalised.

Insurance for drivers with drink driving convictions

If you have a drink driving conviction on your licence, try getting a quote from 4YoungDrivers when it's time to renew your car insurance.

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