Calls For Alco-Gates To Curb Drink Driving

A new report into drink driving has found one in four people who believe they are over the limit the morning after a night-out still get behind the wheel.

The NRMA is renewing calls for alco-gate trials -- for example, breathalysers at boom gates -- to be introduced in NSW, with drink driving still one of the big three killers on state's roads.

The call is for a trial of the system to be introduced in 'high risk drink driving environments' across the state, including car parks, sporting stadiums and at festivals and other events.

“We know places like stadiums, racecourses and music venues are high-risk environments, where people might be tempted to drink and drive," said NRMA Road Safety Expert Dimitra Vlahomitros.

Source: Getty Images

"The trial would require drivers to pass a breath test before they can leave the car parks of participating licensed venues," Vlahomitros told 10 daily in a statement.

"Alco-gate technology provides a safety net to ensure people who are over the limit don’t get behind the wheel."

The trial would build on existing successful programs such as one pioneered in Sweden in 2013 in the Port of Gothenburg.

In Sweden, drivers who attempted to exit a ferry terminal were required to blow into a breathalyser linked to a boom gate.

The gate would only open if the driver's blood alcohol concentration was under the limit.

"The purpose was to enforce drink driving controls along the maritime borders of the country and make sure that no driver coming to or from Sweden was under the influence of alcohol," the European Transport Safety Council said in a report.

In 2013, Sweden piloted a project to introduce a fast-moving automated ‘Alco Gate’ at the Port of Gothenburg. Source: European Transport Safety Council

The NRMA pushed for new technology trials to assist Random Breath Test (RBT) strategies and existing alcohol interlocks.

In 2016 the Victoria government agreed to run a similar trial in the state at selected licensed venues, which is expected to kick off in 2019.

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The Still Smashed report surveyed nearly 1500 drivers, nearly one quarter of whom believed they were still over the limit the morning after drinking.

Of those, more than one in four risked getting behind the wheel anyway.

One man, sitting at the bar counter alone, he has drinking problems.

The report found two-thirds of those surveys said they took the risk because they had work or other plans that required driving the next morning, while a third said there was no other transport available.

One in five said that they risked getting behind the wheel while still potentially over the limit because organising alternative transport was too inconvenient.

“NRMA members rank drink driving as their second biggest road safety fear," Vlahomitros said.

“Last year, NSW Police conducted nearly five million breath tests, so people getting in the car with alcohol in their system over the holiday period are at great risk of getting caught -- if they don’t kill themselves or others first.”

Source: Getty Images

Featured Image: European Transport Safety Council

Contact the author: vgerova@networkten.com.au