Russia might be that one uncle at Thanksgiving you say hi to and immediately hide his car keys. 

It has a drinking and driving problem. A massive one, but that might be changing soon as officials mull over radical changes that could affect private carmakers.

Authorities in Russia are considering mandating breath-testing interlocks on all new cars. 

Russian authorities are considering making it compulsory for all new cars sold there to be equipped with alcohol breath test “interlock” devices – whether or not the buyer has a history of drink driving. The latter being a little different than most countries that have this kind of mechanism. In the United States and Australia, it’s not uncommon to have repeat DUI (drinking under the influence), offenders have the fitment of breath test “interlock” devices.

The devices – which require drivers to exhale into a tube to prove they are not intoxicated – are fitted at the driver’s expense.

Many are calling this an overreach and have suggested a lighter initial step. Currently, Russia has very loose drinking and driving laws. The harshest penalty comes from fatal crashes involving impaired drivers, and even then closely resemble the United States’s vehicular manslaughter laws.

However, overreach doesn’t seem to be officials top concern. Most are worried about the cost and have proposed delaying the implementation until the technology is further advanced thus reducing the car owner’s fiscal burden.

Initial discussions have not mentioned requiring older car owners to re-purpose their vehicle with the device. 

Russia has among the highest rates of road deaths in Europe, with 17,000 fatalities reported last year alone.

The European Union, which wants to mandate alcohol interlocks from 2022. 

This interlock/new car act has not been voted on.

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JEM Contributor


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