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Last week saw us at the 13th Alcohol Interlock Symposium – this year held in the picturesque city of Helsinki.

An interlock – for those who don’t know the term – is a device fitted to the ignition system of a vehicle, that requires a clear breath sample prior to the ignition being started.  We launched our own device – the Drivealyzer – this time last year and were keen to meet the key players in the industry.

WIth speakers from governments around the world, public sectors and key manufacturer representatives, it was a great opportunity to hear what is happening elsewhere with regards to the rolling out of programmes requiring the use of Interlocks, how to implement them and what results can be expected.

Most of our European counterparts (specifically Belgium, France, Netherlands, Poland, Finland & Sweden to name but a few) already have an interlock requirement in place – whether it be for those repeat offenders caught ‘DUI’ or, as is the case in Sweden and France (and elsewhere – apologies if I miss you!) – a legal requirement for any passenger transport carrying children – to have an interlock fitted.

The UK has yet to catch up – and yet Interlocks are becoming pretty much the standard response to counteract the repeat or high level DUI offenders in most US states and Canada, with some 300,000 units in use throughout (and rising…).

MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) have proven to be priceless in enforcing this – it’s a no brainer that fitting an interlock reduces the available instances for driving under the influence.  Debbie Weir (CEO of MADD – and an accomplished public speaker) gave a fantastically compelling session on this – demonstrating the dramatic reduction in drink driving fatalities once an Interlock Programme had been implemented.  But unfortunately in the UK this is yet to be recognised.

The UK still lags behind the rest of Europe with its high level permitted drink-drive limit (the highest in Europe – matched only by Luxembourg) and a reluctance to address those repeat offenders by enforcing an interlock requirement.  Surely – isn’t it about time we caught up?

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