Alcohol interlock devices are currently being used in 1,038 vehicles in Belgium, the Vias Institute for road safety reports.
The devices, also called “alcolocks”, are becoming increasingly common in Belgium and throughout Europe, as individual countries and the EU as a whole tighten drink-driving laws. In 2020, 582 vehicles had alcolocks installed vehicles, Belga News Agency reports.
Since July 1 2018, drivers convicted of having a blood alcohol content (BAC) greater than 1.8 g/l must install an alcolock in their car. Repeat offenders also must install the device – two convictions for driving with a BAC of 1.2 g/l within three years.
Interestingly, some drivers elected to keep their alcolocks despite the obligation for their being fitted coming to an end. “747 people have finished the alcohol lock program because their compulsory driving period was over. A large number of these people choose to leave the breathalyser in the car”, explains Stef Willems, spokesperson for Vias.
The alcolock is a small device installed in a vehicle and connected to the starter. Before the car starts, the driver must blow into the alcolock. If the alcohol reading is higher than .09 mg/l, the engine will not start.
The EU is requiring automobile manufacturers to fit new vehicles with an interface to make later alcolock installation easier. In Spain, these laws even apply to new motorcoaches, buses, and minibuses designed to carry more than eight people.