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New ETSC policy paper on “Drink Driving: Young Drivers and Recidivist Offenders”

Brussels, 8 April 2008. The European Transport Safety Council has published a new policy paper on "Drink Driving: Young Drivers and Recidivist Offenders".

The paper illustrates how alcohol is affecting driving skills and what the effects on the risks of crashing are. It points out that drink driving is the second greatest contributory factor of road deaths in the EU after speeding and that at least 10,000 of the 40,000 deaths that occur on EU roads every year are a consequence of drink driving (25% of road deaths).

The paper also contains some recommendations to prevent two high risk groups – young and novice drivers and recidivist offenders – from impaired driving including lower alcohol limits (0,2 g/l BAC) for young and novice drivers, random breath testing to increase the subjective perception of the possibility of being caught, graduated licensing systems as well as rehabilitation programmes, alcohol interlocks for recidivist offenders.

The final part of the paper contains the following policy recommendations:

The EU should:

  • legislate to introduce a limit of maximum 0.2 BAC limit for novice drivers.

  • Ensure that the new Directive on cross border enforcement aims to achieve high standards of traffic law enforcement in the field of drink driving in the EU.

  • work towards standardized definitions of drunk driving and alcohol-related accidents / road deaths across the EU.

  • work towards an EU wide monitoring system for the prevalence of drink driving

  • act to reduce drinking and driving by supporting a Europe wide campaign and linking this strongly to increased drink driving enforcement.

  • include in its future research activities a priority action to evaluate the impact of designated driver programmes such as the BOB.

  • continue their support of NGO's addressing drinking and driving amongst young people and should especially facilitate their extension in the New Member States.

Member States should:

  • work towards setting a legal BAC limit of no more than 0.5 g/l for all drivers and maximum of 0.2 g/l for young novice drivers.

  • introduce targeted random breath testing to complement alcohol enforcement based on suspicion.

  • ensure that young novice drivers are subject to probationary periods in conjunction with higher demerit points which can be assigned for non-compliance with road rules.

  • ensure that “alcolocks” be installed in the cars of first time offenders who are found to be far in excess of the legal limit (such as 2.5 times) and all recidivists. Essential for their success is that “alcolocks” are be combined with driver rehabilitation courses to achieve more permanent behavioural change.

To see the policy paper