To curb drink driving, Russia may have built-in breathalyzers

Russia is known for its fine Vodka quality and very cold weather at the same time, Russians have long had a reputation as heavy drinkers, but alcoholic consumption has fallen by an estimated 43% from 2003 to 2016, according to a World Health Organization study last year.

Russia for many years trying to improve road safety and road deaths, which are really high due to drinking driving, as compared to any other country in the world, though official statistics show the situation improving, around 17,000 Russians died on the country’s roads last year, much higher than in many other countries.

Russia is considering fitting cars with devices that breathalyze drivers to clamp down on drink driving and is looking at ways to encourage manufacturers to install them in vehicles fresh off the production line.

The industry ministry hopes to draw up a plan by the end of 2020, the Kommersant newspaper reported, to spur the mass use of “interlocks”, which require drivers to pass the breathalyzer test before they can start the ignition.

Installing alcohol interlocks would introduce new costs for carmakers and likely be opposed by many carmakers at a time when demand for new cars is under strain because of the pandemic.

Past Russian government pushes to have alcohol interlocks deployed in Russia have been unsuccessful.

Russia remains a nation of heavy drinkers, but the study linked the fall in consumption to higher alcohol excise taxes, policies clamping down on home-made alcohol, and the raising of the minimum price for vodka.

India is also not far behind in terms of road accident deaths due to drunk driving. India may also consider using such technology in the future.

President Vladimir Putin has long cultivated an image of sobriety in contrast to his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, whom many Russians associate with drunken and embarrassing gaffes.

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