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United Kingdom

Breathalysers could be fitted inside the vehicles of convicted drink- drivers

Breathalysers could be fitted inside the vehicles of convicted drink- drivers under new government proposals.

The Department for Transport is looking into installing so-called “alcolocks” - fitted on all French coaches - onto vehicles to prevent them from starting unless the driver passes an alcohol breath test.

In France, convicted drink-drivers can already avoid driving bans if they fit the alcolocks

When fitted, drivers have to first blow into the breathalyser before their engine is able to start. They are then required to blow a second time which is set randomly at between five and 30 minutes later to check that they are still under the limit, with the aim of preventing someone else starting the car for them.

Currently, anyone found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol in the UK can be imprisoned, banned from driving or face an unlimited fine.

The new proposals come amid debates around the new EU rules that require every new car built after May 2022 to be fitted with alcohol detectors as well as anti-speeding devices to alert drivers when they break legal limits.

In March, the European Parliament agreed that all new vehicles will need to have an Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) limiter as standard.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "The UK has some of the safest roads in the world, but we are not complacent and continue to look at how we can make them safer.

"Today's action plan is a key milestone in our road safety work and sets out the important steps we are taking to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads."

Under new DfT plans, drivers caught not wearing a seat belt will also face tougher punishments.

Offenders in Britain could be handed penalty points in addition to a fine, meaning some may lose their licence for failing to buckle up.

The DfT did not reveal how many points may be given to drivers for not wearing a seat belt, but three points are used in Northern Ireland.

Motorists can be disqualified from driving if they build up 12 or more points within three years.

It follows new data that revealed more than a quarter (27%) of the 787 car occupants who died in crashes on Britain's roads in 2017 were not wearing a seatbelt.

This was compared with 20% during the previous year.

Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said: "It is barely conceivable that tens of thousands of drivers and passengers make the decision each day not to belt up.

"The direct effect of non-compliance might be felt by the vehicle occupant themselves in the event of a crash, but ultimately the emergency services are left to deal with the roadside consequences and the taxpayer foots the bills."

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