The car will not move if the driver is over the limit. / dgt

All new cars sold in Spain must have pre-installation for an ‘alcolock’ system from next month

It is a system which means the vehicle will be blocked from moving if the driver is over the alcohol drink-drive limit


For years now the EU and the Directorate-General for Traffic (DGT) in Spain have been wanting to reduce the number of fatalities in traffic accidents. This has usually been done by new regulations and making fines more severe, but now a new measure is about to come into effect. All new vehicles sold in the European Union from July this year will incorporate a package of eight security systems known as ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems).

This is part of a plan to reduce traffic deaths to zero by 2050. These systems are expected to prevent 25,000 deaths and 140,700 serious injuries in a period of 18 years.

These systems include an ‘alcolock’, a system which means the vehicle will be blocked from moving if the driver is over the drink-drive limit. To be specific, the EU rule is for new vehicles to have a pre-installation for an alcolock; it is up to individual countries to decide and legislate when they become compulsory and to whom the rule applies.

The system is connected to the vehicle’s ignition. The driver blows into a breathalyser and if they have drunk more than the permitted amount of alcohol, the vehicle will not start.

Is it possible to cheat the system in some way?

No, say the experts. The sensors guarantee that no mechanical devices will work to over-ride the alcolock and the system also includes recognition devices such as fingerprints, facial detection and digital photographs stored in its memory to make sure that the person blowing into the breathalyser is the one who is about to drive.

This is why the alcolock, which is expected to be very effective in reducing traffic accidents and saving lives, has to be incorporated into a legal framework for its use.