Drunk driving: how to get rid of this problem once and for all

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Drunk driving: how to get rid of this problem once and for all
Drunk driving: how to get rid of this problem once and for all
31 March, 20:56
Mandatory installation of alcolocks in cars - these are the devices that block the ignition until the driver passes the alcohol test - is accepted in different countries.

The author of "20 Ideas for the Development of Russia" Dmitry Davydov believes that the Russian state could once again pay close attention to this global trend, because the price of the issue is the lives of thousands of people. The author hopes that the authorities will help implement the project at the legislative level.

Viktor Levin

HOW I NEARLY BECAME A CRIMINAL

March 10, 2005. Last night I was celebrating a relative's birthday. In the morning I got into the car to go to work, convincing myself that "I can, because I'm not just "from the festive board", but after a sleep". And everything would be fine, but only at one of the intersections of Leninsky Prospekt my car was the first in front of a traffic light. It so happened that for the last 20 seconds before turning on the green signal, I only looked at the traffic light, being sure that the road in front of the car was empty. And now the yellow lights up, the right leg is already stretching to put pressure on the gas, as if by chance, as if from nowhere, a child's head appears in front of the hood!

Good heavens! I almost hit the boy... And if I did, I would never prove to anyone that I was not drunk. Because he was actually in a severe hangover. Because in seven or eight hours after a plentiful feast, alcohol in the blood does not disappear anywhere.

And this is - alas, a typical situation. Even completely law-abiding people for some reason break the law, for some reason they think that nothing bad will happen to them, that "it's sure to come good"...

- The proverb "the sky is the limit" very accurately reflects the consciousness of a person who is intoxicated with alcohol or drugs", - narcologist Anna Uvarova told "NI" correspondent, - Alcohol seems to stifle the brain centers of people's social and personal responsibility. Most of the drivers who got into "drunk" accidents cannot answer the simplest question: why did they get behind the wheel, if it was easy to call a taxi or a so-called "sober driver"?"

The result of irrational behavior is the personal drama of the drivers themselves. A vivid example of this is the fate of the actor Mikhail Yefremov.

In 2020, the number of traffic accidents with victims in the country reached 145,000. Every ninth was fatal. During the year, 16 thousand people died on the roads of the country. Every seventh accident in the country happened because of the drunk drivers. In such accidents last year, 4,515 people died - it's almost a quarter of all deaths on the roads.

You can console yourself and society that the number of fatal accidents in Russia is steadily declining (20 years ago, 30-35 thousand Russians died on the roads). However, the problem remains, despite the most severe fines and criminal penalties:

According to an anonymous survey conducted among car users last November, 39% of drivers answered that they had drunk driving. At the same time, 6% indicated that they do this periodically, notes Dmitry Davydov, the author of the project "20 Ideas for the Development of Russia".

So what measures must be taken and is it possible to block drunk drivers from access to the roads?

ALCOLOCKS: THE U.S. EXPERIENCE AS A ROLE EXAMPLE

It is known that the United States, as the most automobile country in the world, is a pioneer in almost all systems and road safety rules. It was in America that controlled intersections, traffic lights, turn signals and brake lights for cars, airbags and much more were invented, without which the modern auto industry is unthinkable.

In November 2021, the U.S. Congress passed a mandate requiring alcohol locks to be installed on new vehicles to prevent drivers from driving while intoxicated. Not earlier than in 5 years, and not later than in 6 years, a new standard for automakers will begin to operate in the States: all cars coming off the assembly line must be equipped with an automatic alcohol detection system.

Be it noted that the introduction of innovation is not a sign of a good life. In the United States, about 10,000 people die every year due to the actions of drunk drivers, and the economic damage is estimated at 194 billion dollars! Thus the problem is brought to the level of the national security.

DADSS technology does not require any action on the part of the driver. Two methods are used to determine sobriety:

  1. The first detects blood alcohol levels below the surface of the skin by passing infrared light through the driver's fingertip. The sensors are integrated into vehicle controls, such as the engine start button or the steering wheel, and take many point readings. Scanning takes less than a second.
  2. The second method is based on breath control. The sensor detects the driver's natural breathing rate while in the driver's seat and determines the level of alcohol in the breath. Such a system takes instantaneous readings from the driver's normal breathing and is able to accurately distinguish it from the breathing of passengers. These sensors can be built into the driver's door, dashboard or steering column.

The development of the concept began in 2008, and in 2021 it was announced the start of open licensing of the technology for commercial operation. The systems have proven their effectiveness during testing. Currently, engineers and scientists are working to reduce the size of the sensors so they can be built into passenger cars and still withstand harsh environmental conditions, working without calibration for the entire life of the car.

But what about Russia?

It cannot be said that the idea of alcolocks is not at all known to our authorities. In 2018, the traffic police proposed to work out the introduction of alcohol locks for citizens convicted of drunk driving .

They were already used several years ago in a number of bus fleets, the traffic police has been lobbying for this development since 2012.

In 2020, the Ministry of Industry and Trade came up with an initiative to create incentives for automakers to install alcohol locks in serial cars coming off the assembly line . In 2021, the Ministry announced a project to develop alcolocks with the functions of identifying the driver and remotely monitoring the performance of the device in order to punish the violator with the mandatory installation of it.

However, today we need a law that would clearly oblige the installation of alcohol locks in vehicles, Dmitry Davydov insists.

At the same time, the author of the idea understands that it is impossible to equip all Russian cars in one month or a year. Therefore, a 6-year transition period is proposed. During this time, the industry will also be able to master the production of built-in alcohol detectors, and society will realize the need for such a measure. And already after 6 years it will be possible to prohibit the registration of cars without alcohol locks. Over time, they will become the same norm in cars, like airbags and efficient braking systems, Davydov is sure.

And as for the costs, they will more than pay off by reducing drunken accidents, a thousand and a thousand lives saved.

BY THE WAY

In Europe, alcohol locks have been used quite actively, for more than 20 years, and they are most widely used in the Scandinavian countries. So, in Sweden, if the police stop a driver for the first time, in whose exhaled air an excess of alcohol vapor is found (not too significant; the permitted figure in this country is 0.2 ppm), he will have to pay a fine, and a rather big one (depending on the level income), and lose your driver's license for a year or two. But in this case, he will be offered an alternative: to install an alcohol lock on his car. At your own expense, of course. He will still have to go to the courses of anonymous alcoholics, donate blood for analysis, but the rights will not be taken away.

EXPERTS' OPINIONS

"According to the traffic police, the problem of drunk driving remains one of the most acute for Russia. International practice has shown that the installation of alcolocks that prevent starting a car engine without first checking the driver's condition can be an effective solution to ensure road safety. We believe that with introduction of alcohol locks in Russia, it is necessary to analyze and apply the best world practices.It is especially important to equip commercial vehicles associated with an increased risk of operation, passenger transport or cars with alcohol locks for those drivers who were deprived of a driver's license for driving while intoxicated", - said Farhad Mammadov, Business Development Manager, Sobriety Control, Dräger Russia.

"Undoubtedly, alcohol locks as a preventive measure to combat drunk driving are important. They should be installed on commercial and official vehicles, on vehicles that transport dangerous goods, where a mistake can be expensive, on carsharing and, possibly, taxis. Meanwhile, if we bring up our children in the concept that drinking while driving is evil, then after a while we will no longer need to implement alcohol locks or other harsh measures", - said automotive expert and journalist Konstantin Sorokin.

Note, by the way, the introduction of innovation does not come from a good life. In the United States, about 10,000 people die every year from the actions of drunk drivers, and the economic damage is estimated at 194 billion dollars! The problem is thus brought to the level of national security.

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