New EU Drink Driving Proposals
With Brexit looming but (as of yet) remaining just out of touching distance, it is difficult to gauge or assess any new EU policies that may ultimately no longer affect us. If, however, we purchase our cars from European manufacturers for example, then some proposed changes may be inescapable. It is also worth noting that the UK did at one point agree to mirror road-safety rules from the EU even after Brexit so these may well be heading to our shores as well.
What are the new Driving Proposals for Legislation
A number of different topics have been raised in recent years and it seems likely that implementation will begin shortly. The proposals were actually approved back in March 2019 but were only “rubber-stamped” by the EU this week. So what are the new proposals and what will the practical impact be?
In a landmark decision from the European Council, they ruled that from 2022 all new cars must be fitted with breathalysers. The idea is that a motorist would have to satisfy a breath test before they can start their engines. This is the technology that was approved in March but how now been formally signed off by the EU.
Any vehicles made before 2022 must be retrospectively fitted with the technology before 2024 so there is a 2 year grace-period before, presumably, penalties or additional offences are brought in. The decision also approved speed-limiter software to be mandatory as well.
Whilst responses to this have been rather mixed, the road safety charity, “Brake” declared it the biggest leap forward in road safety in years.
Possible Motoring Offences
Whilst it certainly seems like it would help road-safety, the potential loopholes are already starting to materialise. After it has been fitted, could it be tampered with to disabled by a car-enthusiast? Could this see the rise of dodgy offers being made to motorists when they see the opportunity to make a bit of extra cash on the side? Further, what would prevent someone else (your friend, neighbour, or even a random rough sleeper) from starting the vehicle for you? What if the driver starts their car whilst sober and then consumed alcohol?
If any of the above took place, would it be deemed an offence? If so, what would it be and who would be charged? On one hand it seems like an obvious solution to fit cars with breath test devices but then on the other you may simply be creating more offences that may be committed.
The element of control being imposed over motorists may also not be well-received as the immediate inference is that motorists simply cannot be trusted.
With that said, the idea is certainly a step in the right direction as the European Transport Safety Council said that such measures could help cut collisions by 30% and save 25,000 lives across Europe over the next 15 years.
The breathalyser protocol has been deliberately vague as we suspect officials themselves are still trying to work out exactly how it will operate to avoid it being circumvented.