Drink-driving in commercial transport

  • Published: European Transport Safety Council. no date
  • Authors: European Transport Safety Council
  • Date Added: 05 Mar 2013
  • Last Update: 05 Mar 2013
  • Format: pdf

Objectives:

To provide an overview of how drink-driving could be effectively tackled in commercial transport through various regulations and initiatives.

Methodology:

The report reviewed current research, technology and legislation acrossEurope that is being used or could be used to prevent drink-driving.

Key Findings:

  • In Europe, at least 20 per cent of all road deaths in Europe are alcohol related whereas about only 1 per cent of all kilometres driven in Europe are driven by drivers with 0.5 g/l alcohol in their blood or more.

  • In July 2009, over 38,000 coaches were checked out by police forces in 17 countries: 55 bus and coach drivers were found to be above the legal limit, five were found under the effect of drugs and 106 did not hold a driving license, having previously been disqualified for offences. Drink-driving by coach drivers is thus as high as 0.15 per cent only, far less than in the general driving population.

  • Yet, alcohol related road RTIs in commercial transport result in more serious outcomes due to the vehicle RTI incompatibility caused by increased size and mass of commercial vehicles.

  • Hindering drink-driving in commercial transport could be achieved through actions in three main areas:

    • Regulations;
    • Awareness raising and education; and
    • Enforcement of law.
  • It appears that there is no one-fits-all solution to tackle drink-driving in commercial transport and that current technologies such as alcohol interlocks do not represent an end in themselves to solve the problem.

  • In the Commission Communication on an EU alcohol strategy the Commission invites the Member States to even consider a zero BAC limit for young and novice drivers and drivers of public transports and dangerous goods.

  • Consistent and visible enforcement has been shown to be a powerful deterrent to drink-driving. Enforcement methods which have proven effective include breath testing (random or where drink-driving is suspected), sobriety checkpoints, police patrols, and officer training.

  • A time series of roadside surveys in theNetherlandscovering a 30-year period showed a high correlation between enforcement and drink-driving levels. During the whole period, each doubling of the enforcement level resulted in a substantial reduction (by approximately 25 per cent) of drink-driving.

  • Alcohol interlocks eliminate drink-driving virtually to zero once installed, but the positive effect on recidivism usually disappears completely after the lock is removed from the vehicle.

  • Various assessments have shown that an alcohol interlock is more effective than driving licence suspension in preventing recidivism.

Themes:

Drink-driving, Commercial vehicles, Preventative measures.

Comments:

Commercial transport – relates to goods vehicles, buses and coaches.

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