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Blow to go! Latest Russian plan to eliminate drink-driving – installing alcohol locks on all newly produced cars

Blow to go! Latest Russian plan to eliminate drink-driving – installing alcohol locks on all newly produced cars
Get ready for a new sensation: breathing into your car before it starts. In a bid to make roads safer, Russia’s is planning to introduce 'alcolocks,' which require a driver to prove their sobriety before a vehicle moves.

According to Moscow business daily Kommersant, the Ministry of Industry and Trade is developing a plan to introduce alcohol locks en-masse. The technology, known as an ‘ignition interlock device,’ is already set to become mandatory in the European Union from 2022.

The locks work by making it impossible to start a car when alcohol above a certain threshold is detected in the driver’s breath. The device requires them to blow into a mouthpiece, which then calculates the alcohol concentration. It stops the vehicle from turning on if the reading is higher than the limit for that particular country.

This is not the first time that alcolocks have been suggested in Russia. In 2013, opposition political party ‘Fair Russia’ proposed that such devices be put in the cars of drivers caught drink driving.

In 2019, Russia’s parliament passed legislation that significantly increased the punishment for driving while intoxicated, to a maximum of 15 years behind bars if two or more people are killed as a result.

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Despite political will, it’s not yet practical to introduce alcohol locks en masse. So says Vyacheslav Lysakov, a member of Russia’s parliamentary committee on State Construction.

"There is no regulatory framework, there are no standards, and no infrastructure for servicing alcohol locks,” he said. “At the moment, [the proposal] is like drones and flying taxis. We will have it someday, but for now we are getting ahead of ourselves.”

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