Alcohol Detectors That Can Disable Your Vehicle to be Used More
Alcohol detectors that won’t allow a car to start and drink drive roadblocks are the best ways to reduce deaths on the road, according to new research.
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Almost 42 per cent of the rest lack evidence they protect public health or prevent drink driving, while 56 per cent have not been scientifically evaluated or there is insufficient data to make a judgement.
In-car breathalysers – known as ‘alcohol ignition interlock devices’ – require a driver to blow into a mouthpiece before starting the vehicle. If they are over the limit, the engine won’t start.
Sobriety checkpoints involve police stopping selected vehicles. They are often set up late at night or in the very early morning hours and on weekends, when drunk motorists are most likely to be on the road.
The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, analysed 266 alcohol industry campaigns implemented around the world to reduce drinking and driving between 1982 and 2015. There was no proof the most common including designated driver programs, ride services and mass media initiatives actually worked.
In fact, the industry commonly distributed flyers, leaflets and small giveaways about the risks of drinking, which the researchers say not only isn’t effective, but often doubled as marketing for the alcohol brands that sponsor such programs.
Examples of interventions that have been shown to have the highest levels of evidence of effectiveness include the use of sobriety checkpoints and the installation of ignition interlocks that prevent someone with an elevated blood alcohol level from driving a car.
But the researchers found these were used just 0.8 per cent of the time among the sample.
The study found that while ride services may reduce drinking and driving, people may actually consume more alcohol which can increase the risk of other problems – such as violence and injuries.
Over the past 30 years, the alcohol industry has implemented more than 3,500 initiatives around the world to reduce harmful drinking as part of their corporate social responsibility business practices.
Along with individual alcohol corporations, many of these are led by industry trade associations and public relations organisations they fund. Fewer than three per cent of the actions listed a health-related agency as a partner.
Professor Adnan Hyder, of Johns Hopkins University in the US, said: “Our findings suggest almost none of the alcohol industry’s efforts to reduce drinking and driving were based on what scientific evidence has told us can work to improve public health.” Drink driving causes 15 per cent of road traffic deaths globally, according to the World Health Organisation.
The researchers used an online database of industry initiatives for reducing harmful drinking kept by the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, an industry group.
Of the actions they evaluated, most were in Europe (61.7 per cent) followed by the Americas (22.2 per cent).
Dr David Jernigan, of Johns Hopkins, added: “The majority of industry initiatives are either ineffective or of unknown effectiveness; public health interventions are generally held to a higher standard.”