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16/06/2011

Question to the Commission on Supporting mandatory alcohol testing for crash driversby Nessa Childers (S&D)

It is a fact accepted by European governments that alcohol, even in small amounts, can and does impact on driving.

Nine out of ten surviving drivers in fatal crashes are not tested for alcohol in Ireland. In 2006, the Irish Government introduced random breath testing and in each succeeding year, the number of deaths on our roads fell.

Does the Commission agree that it would be beneficial to introduce mandatory alcohol testing for crash drivers throughout Europe? Would the Commission recommend this policy for Irish drivers?

Answer given by Mr Kallas on behalf of the Commission

The Commission agrees with the Honourable Member on the benefits for road safety arising from alcohol testing for crash drivers. The introduction of such checks falls under the responsibility of Member States, taking into account their specific situation. There are currently no plans to make alcohol testing mandatory for crash drivers at European level but the Commission recommends the sharing of best practices on such issues.

More generally, the Commission agrees that drink-driving is a significant cause of road fatalities throughout Europe, which deserves strong action through increased education, prevention and enforcement. The Commission has proposed in its policy orientations on road safety 2011-2020[1] to examine possible EU measures to better prevent drink-driving, such as the installation of alcohol interlocks in certain types of vehicles.

[1] COM(2010) 389 final.