According to South Australian experts, all cars should be fitted with alcohol testing ignition blocks. These experts claim that this move would almost eliminate drink driving within a decade, ultimately saving many lives and millions of dollars.
According to a new report by The Centre for Automotive Safety Research in South Australia, authorities should consider fitting permanent alcohol interlock devices to the vehicles of repeat drink drivers as soon as possible. This would bring South Australian drink driving laws in line with other states which have already introduced mandatory interlock devices for repeat drink driving offenders.
According to one of the authors of the report, Trevor Bailey who spoke to The Advertiser, “the new touchpad technology could be introduced to all vehicles to save lives”. He went on to explain:
He said if the “quick, accurate, reliable, unobtrusive and cheap” touchpad technology – which measures alcohol in perspiration – was fitted to all vehicles “then drink driving could be almost eliminated within 10 years”.
“If an illegal concentration of alcohol is detected, then the vehicle will not start,” he said.
“If the community were to support such testing on a widespread basis as a normal pre-driving check, as well as continuing existing interlock programs for offenders, then drivers with illegal alcohol levels will be prevented from entering the road system rather than being detected while on the road.”
Mr Bailey said touchpad technology could be made a standard safety requirement for new cars and also rolled out to existing vehicles.
At the moment mandatory breathalyser devices are already being installed to cars of drivers caught with a blood alcohol reading of 0.15 per cent or higher or where a repeat offence is committed where the reading registers more than 0.08.
The researchers discovered that this may not be sufficiently safe because once people had their interlock devices removed, the risks of reoffending also returned.
And as the researchers explained, the minority of repeat offenders who do not seem capable of changing their behaviour may need to have the mandatory interlock device fitted as the only way for them to maintain the right to drive.
Figures seem to support the researcher’s claims. Currently it seems increasing numbers of drivers are being forced to fit an interlock device.
SA figures indicated that more than 2700 drink drivers have been caught 3 or more times in the past decade while an even worse group of about 42 drivers had been caught 6 six times. The worst group of drivers of about 16 drivers were caught 7 times or more over the limit.
The alcohol interlock device works in a way that makes it compulsory for drivers to blow into the device before turning on the car’s ignition. The device then measures the breath alcohol level and if over the limit will prevent the car’s engine from starting.