The planning and implementation of systematic approaches to reducing alcohol abuse amongst drivers is top priority of EU countries in the last 10-20 years. With joint efforts to change existing policies, European Member States successfully decreased annual roadside fatalities by 43% in the span of 2001-2010. Further, in 2015, EU members introduced code 69 where convicted drivers can only operate vehicles that contain alcohol interlocks to better facilitate safe driving across Europe. However, it’s up to member states how and when they will implement and execute the program.
For years, Slovenia actively joined the EU in the fight against alcohol abuse in road transportation. Between 2001 and 2010, Slovenia reduced roadside death rates by 50% compared to a 43% reduction in other European courtiers. But, Slovenian government does not want to simply hault their efforts there; the Slovenian Traffic Safety Agency and the European Transport Safety Council recently held a round table discussion at the National Assembly in Ljubljana to further raise the awareness and tackle drunk driving on Slovenian roads.
Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc emphasized three important factors in regards to the continuous efforts of roadside safety in her speech at Ljubljana: The importance of policy and decision makers to take a lead on this subject, the use of digital technologies such as interlocks to compensate for human error and the education of road users to change their drink-driving behavior on the road.
Alcohol interlocks continue to be a highlight of road safety discussions in Europe. Not surprisingly, many EU countries such as Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland and France already require convicted drivers to install ignition interlocks. Countries such as France also introduced ignition interlocks to all coaches following Belgium’s example.
Practices show that ignition interlocks are cost-friendly and effective when it comes to convicted drivers and will continue to be an EU focus. Bulc stated, “A lot has been done but there’s more to do. Our goal is to remain Zero Fatalities”.