UK motorists believe drink driving is more dangerous than speeding

84% of motorists support alcohol immobilisers & 66% state they would specify additional technologies specifically to benefit from discounted insurance premiums

A recent motoring safety innovations survey by National Windscreens has revealed that an overwhelming majority, almost 84%, of UK motorists would support the introduction of technology designed to immobilise vehicles if sensors detect that the driver is over the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit.

This figure makes particularly interesting reading for insurers looking to reduce the costs of drink driving related incidents and is especially significant when combined with the fact that 66% would specify additional technologies when buying a new vehicle, specifically to benefit from discounted insurance premiums

The level of support for alcohol detection devices is in stark contrast to the 39% of respondents who stated they would support the introduction of technology designed to make it impossible to exceed the speed limit.

These findings are very timely with the recent reduction of the BAC limit for drivers in Scotland earlier this month and the festive season’s imminent arrival, putting drink driving high on the national agenda.

National Windscreens Commercial Director, Pete Marsden, comments, “These results clearly demonstrate the high level of support for innovation designed to minimise drink driving. There is a clear opportunity for insurers to capitalise on this support with premiums that differentiate between vehicles with and without this safety feature.”

As an organisation operating in the automotive repair industry, National Windscreens has undertaken research into a wide range of motoring safety technologies at various stages of development to help identify industry trends to inform future business decisions.

This latest survey was completed by 540 National Windscreens customers in October as part of an ongoing programme to establish awareness and attitude towards technology innovations designed to improve motoring safety.

Pete Marsden, elaborates, “Our business has witnessed a huge increase in safety technologies offered on the latest vehicles – either as an integral part of the glazing, or mounted on the windscreen. This obviously has implications on our business as we need to ensure we are best placed to react to any changes in technology which may impact on the quality, cost and speed of response across all aspects of our operation.”

When asked which safety technology had the most potential to reduce road accidents, 17% of survey respondents cited alcohol detection systems – just 2% less than the most popular answer which was Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).

According to the Department for Transport, despite significant reductions in recent years there were still 230 UK deaths attributed to drink driving in 2012. And with alcohol cited as the cause for 6630 road accidents per annum, in addition to the human cost this issue obviously has huge financial implications for the motor insurance industry.

Pete continues, “Drink driving is still a significant cause for concern for both motorists and insurers – our survey suggests that any innovations which can help reduce the number of accidents caused by alcohol would be welcomed by drivers throughout the UK.” 

Full details of the Motoring Safety Innovations survey results will be released shortly.

Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety

A number of World leading automotive manufacturers are currently involved in the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) initiative, a partnership project between the US government and the private sector, tasked with identifying in-vehicle technologies that unobtrusively detect when a driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) above the legal limit and then prevent the car from moving.

Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices
BAIIDs are widely used in the fleet sector and as part of drink driving offender programmes overseas. The current devices rely on drivers breathing into a breathalyser which is linked to the ignition – if the driver’s breath indicates they are over a pre-set BAC the vehicle will not start.

Awareness amongst UK motorists
Whilst the DADSS programme is being spearheaded in the US, there is a growing awareness of this initiative in the UK – almost 27% of the National Windscreens survey respondents stated that they were aware of DADSS, whilst 22% advised that they are aware of breath alcohol ignition interlock devices.

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