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Alcohol locks could be fitted to cars

Alcohol locks that prevent cars starting if the driver is over the limit are being considered for Europe's largest car market

Alcohol locks that prevent cars starting if the driver is over the limit are being considered for Europe's largest car market.

Politicians and safety experts met in Germany yesterday to discuss how 'alcolocks' could be introduced to reduce the number of drink-drive deaths.

The systems are already used for repeat drink-drivers in the USA, Canada and Australia, and are also to be tested in the UK.

Alcohol-related road deaths
Across Europe, drink driving accounts for around 25% of all road deaths.

In the UK, 540 of the 3172 people killed in 2006 were victims of drink-drive accidents, compared with 600 in Germany, which has around 10 million more cars on the road.

Alcolocks already available
Saab introduced the option of its Alcokey in 2005, which prevents cars starting if you blow into it and are over the limit, and Volvo will offer a similar system called Alcoguard early next year.

There are also many breath test machines available, such as Alcosense, although What Car? advocates their use only to check you are safe to drive the morning after.

Using the devices in the evening could easily encourage motorists to drink to the maximum allowable level, which still impairs ability significantly.

Lower limit being considered
The Department for Transport is considering reducing the UK's legal limit from 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood to 50mg - the level used across most of Europe.

Studies suggest lowering the drink drive limit could save 50 lives a year in the UK.

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