bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Tuesday 20.11.2018 | Name days: Anda, Andīna
LithuaniaLithuania

Lithuania: can alcolocks be a panacea to reckless booze-driven behaviour?

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULinas Jegelevičius for BNN

A horrible accident in which a 24-old girl sitting in a taxi was killed last weekend in Vilnius, when a rented City Bee car being driven by a DUI driver rammed into the cab, prompted a wave of new debates whether Lithuania, having waged war against alcohol-related maladies, ought to proceed with a law requiring to install ignition interlock devices in rental cars. And maybe not only in them. Such alcolocks, systems that require the driver to blow into a breathalyser fitted inside their car, are still a rarity in Lithuanian vehicles. Alcolocks can be adjusted to kick in at different limits but generally mean the vehicle can only be started if no alcohol is detected. Only a handful school buses and brand new city buses have them installed.

In the wake of the tragedy, Rokas Masiulis, the Lithuanian Minister of Transportation, has come out assertively in support of having alcolocks installed in all rental cars.

«I am heartened to learn that City Bee is testing them. As far as the Ministry is concerned, we are working on a set of legislative amendments that would gradually pave way for their mandatory installation in a wide range of cars,» Masiulis was quoted as saying after a meeting with heads of the car-sharing companies «City Bee» and «Spark.»

The minister also emphasised that the Ministry is ready to proceed or hasten enactment of other measures tackling DUI driving.

However, it may be easier said than done, as some of the ideas, like, say, making the names of DUI drivers accessible to the public, may run counter the strict personal data protection laws.

«We will need to do a lot to clear the legislative road of such hurdles. We will appeal with the request to the Ministry of Justice and see what can be done about it immediately. Safety on the roads is our priority,» the minister noted.

He, however, agreed that the approach has to be comprehensive and involving all respective parties.

«I reckon that the devices we are planning to install in cars have to vary, depending on the purpose of their use,»- he added.

Skvernelis, however, believes that it should be left to car rental companies to decide whether or not to install the so-called alcolocks that prevent a vehicle from being started if the driver is drunk.

«Anyone who chooses to drive under the influence of alcohol can cause the same tragic accidents by driving both a rental car or a car borrowed from a friend or acquaintance. This is definitely not a panacea,» he said on LRT Radio on Tuesday morning.

To tackle alcohol-related road fatalities, the Ministry of Health together with the Drug, Tobacco and Alcohol Control Department are drawing up a rehabilitation program for drivers who have been arrested while drunk driving and offenders will participate in the program on a voluntary basis. The prepared draft legislation was scheduled for consideration in April, but has stalled in the legislative chambers.

After the working group’s approval, amendments would be coordinated with the authorities and submitted for consideration to the Government and Parliament.

If Lithuania proceeds with a legislation enforcing use of breathalysers in cars, it would perhaps serve as a poster child for other European nations.

Yet it is evident that, with the traffic accident fatalities number growing in the entire European Union, the bloc is poised to back the introduction of a radical new measure to prevent drivers starting their car engine while drunk, in a bid to reduce alcohol-related deaths on Europe’s roads.

The EU is being urged to legislate for their wide-scale use by the European Committee of the Regions, an advisory body made up of local and regional politicians that has a consultative role in EU policymaking.

The roll-out of alcolocks is being pushed as part of recommendations for the EU to establish a new alcohol strategy and to improve labelling, increase efforts to protect children and target binge-drinking.

So-called alcolocks have received backing from an influential group inside Brussels, with the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union both also said to be supportive of strict new alcohol rules.

Parts of Eastern Europe, and especially the Baltics, have some of the highest alcohol consumption rates in the world and up to a quarter of all road deaths on the continent are linked to drink driving.

In fact, until now, Lithuanians were on top of the list until recently, according to 2016 data presented by a World Health Organization. Lithuania’s alcohol consumption in 2016 had reached 16 liters per capita.

«This is the newest calculations, which make it (Lithuania) the top drinker in Europe, including the top drinker in the world,» Gauden Galea, director of the Division of Noncommunicable Diseases and Life-course at WHO/Europe, has said last year.

«Drink-driving is a serious problem in Lithuania, and various steps are being taken to prevent and stop those tendencies. But it seems that all effort is going to waste as people’s mentality has not changed enough to understand that one mustn’t get behind the wheel while drunk. One of the measures we need to discuss is the installation of alcolocks in rented cars,»  Masiulis, the minister, told the Lithuanian Radio following the Saturday tragedy.

Referring to Skvernelis‘ proposal to make inebriated drivers‘ names public, he said the Ministry has to look at the legal consequences of such a decision.

«But we must seek new ways (to prevent drunk-driving), because penalties alone seem to be insufficient, even though one can end up in jail,» he underscored.

Meanwhile, the car industry representatives are quite sceptical on the authorities’ spunk to rein in road accidents through the mandatory introduction of alcolocks in rental cars and public transportation vehicles.

«Having a gadget integrated in the car won’t change the habits we are notorious for as a nation. Unfortunately, Lithuanians do not often know the word «enough» when it comes to booze consuming,»  Vitoldas Milius, head of  a car seller and editor of an auto magazine, told BNN. «Said that, I have to add that any measure that helps to reduce the number of road fatalities is worth attention.»

Raimundas Abramas, a car repair business owner in Palanga in western Lithuania, said that the «idea of breathalysers» in some of the vehicles is «good», but cautioned that the alcolocks are not tampering-proof.

«We need to educate our people, not to punish. Most of the alcolocks can be outsmarted. We just won’t see a situation soon where the device is smarter than the human,» the businessman emphasised to BNN.


Leave a reply

  1. Zerry says:

    Well, there are larger scale mental problems generally among Lithuanian drivers, even without alcohol. That should be talked about, ant NOT to ask consultation from Polsnd whete traffic looks like searching for fast suicide.

Police admit November 11 Embankment is not the best place for mass events

Security-wise, 11 November Embankment is not the best place for mass events. Nevertheless, responsible authorities plan to analyse in the near future ways to improve security measures in this portion of Riga, as reported by Criminal Police Chief Artis Velšs.

LMIB: CCLI price should not increase in Latvia in the near future

The price of Compulsory Civil Liability Insurance is not expected to increase in the near future, said board member of Latvian Motor Insurers' Bureau Juris Stengrevics in an interview to 900 seconds programme of LNT.

Competition Council permits Energia Verde to change owners

Latvian Competition Council has permitted the agreement in which Estonia-based private capital investment fund Usaldusfond BaltCap Infrastructure Fund gains decisive influence over SIA Energia Verde by acquiring 70% of its shares from AS Energoeco, BNN was informed by the council.

Latvian corruption watchdog commenced five cases on crimes in healthcare in past five years

Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has sent five criminal cases associated with corruption violations in healthcare to the prosecutor’s office in the fast five years.

Saeima approves deputies for work in parliamentary committees

Latvia’s Saeima has approved deputies who will work in the parliament’s standing committees in the next four years. 92 deputies participated in the vote; no one voted against or abstained in the vote.

NATO appreciates Lithuania's defence spending as showing example

Lithuania's significant increase in defence spending has been praised by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as an example this week.

Ieva Jaunzeme becomes candidate to lead Latvia’s State Revenue Service

The personnel selection process organized to pick the new head of Latvia’s State Revenue Service has concluded. Ieva Jaunzeme has been named the winner, as confirmed by State Chancellery.

Ilves urges to celebrate things uniting Latvia and Estonia on centenary

The ex-President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, has congratulated Latvia on the 100th anniversary of its statehood and urged to look back at the historical ups and downs experienced by Estonians and Latvians since the Middle Ages that have united the two peoples.

Opinion: government formation can be described with two words – haste and ambitions

The current government formation process in Latvia can be described with two words – haste and ambitions, says ex-prime minister Valdis Birkavs.

Russia to perform OSCE Armament Control Inspection in Latvia

Over the course from 20th to 23rd November, officers of Russian armed forces will be performing Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe armament control inspection in Latvia, as confirmed by Defence Ministry.

Bishops in Poland issue apology for sex abuse against children by clergy

Catholic bishops in Poland have asked for forgiveness to child victims of sexual abuse committed by priests and other Church workers in the mainly Catholic nation.

Week’s beginning to be chilly in Latvia – air temperature at night to drop below 0° C

Weather in Latvia will remain cold at the beginning of the week. Some areas may also experience precipitation in the form of wet snow and snow. It will become warmer closer to the middle of the week. However, colder masses of air will enter the country again at the end of the week, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

LAR leader: maths mercilessly played its role in 13th Saeima elections

«Latvia has a lame duck government at the moment. While the newly-elected politicians are struggling with forming a new government, Kučinskis’ government continues doing all the actual work. This means the people who fight oligarchs [with their indecisiveness] also support the government hey criticize as being a government of oligarchs,» says leader of Latvian Association of Regions Edvards Smiltēns.

Spain warns it could reject Brexit agreement regarding Gibraltar

Spain has warned it would not give its backing to the Brexit agreement passed by the UK government, if Madrid would be given a special veto to prevent any future EU trade agreement with Britain that applies to Gibraltar.

Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian government approves rules for paying whistleblowers

The Lithuanian government approved on Wednesday, November 14, rules for financially rewarding people who provide the authorities with valuable information on illegal activities.

BNN summary of the week: government formation in Latvia, Brexit plans, and Latvia’s 100th birthday

If someone hoped to see Latvia compile a government before the national holiday, they are going to be disappointed – three parties have decided to exit government formation talks headed by New Conservative Party. NCP’s prime minister candidate Jānis Bordāns receive criticism for having too ambitious and expensive goals. NCP, on the other hand, says parties did not try to study the party’s offers.

PUC commences dispute between AS Gaso and natural gas consumer

On Friday, 16 November, Public Utilities Commission decided to commence a dispute procedure between a natural gas consumer and AS Gaso in regards to natural gas supplies, as confirmed by the commission.

Latvian parties continue informal talks while next prime minister is being picked

While President Raimonds Vējonis is busy picking the next prime minister candidate, politicians of different parties are performing informal consultations. No official consultations are currently planned.

UN's global migration compact stirs up Estonia's calm politics

The Estonian government has taken a long time to reach a unanimous position on the United Nation's Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. This has been criticised by Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, who has to attend a conference in favour of the document in Morocco in December.

Latvian authorities detain CityCommerce Bank co-owner accused of embezzlement

Reinis Tumovs, co-owner of Ukrainian CityCommerce Bank, has been detained in Latvia. He is suspected of embezzling nearly UAH 300 million (EUR 9.5 million), as confirmed by Ukrainian National Police Economy Protection Department on Thursday, 15 November.

Russia ordered to pay damages for Navalny's political arrests by human rights court

Russia has been ordered by the European Court of Human Rights to repay 64 000 euros in damages and costs for politically-motivated arrests of Russian anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny.

Latvian president to consider Gobzems and Pabriks as perspective prime minister candidates

As parties’ efforts to form a new government continue, Latvia’s President Raimonds Vējonis plans to consider two new prime minister candidates – KPV LV leader Aldis Gobzems and Attīstībai/Par! candidate Artis Pabriks.

EC wants to reduce funding for supplies of fruits, vegetables and milk to schools

European Commission’s proposed regulation on organization of agriculture products market provides for reducing EU funding for the support programme on provision of fruits, vegetables and milk for schools by EUR 29.2 million or the same as United Kingdom’s share.

Genocide verdicts handed to Khmer Rouge leaders in Cambodia

In Cambodia, the two most senior living leaders of the Khmer Rouge Communist regime have been found guilty of their role in the atrocities that resulted in the deaths of at least 1.7 million in Cambodia between 1977 and 1979.

Latvian parties pick candidates to work in Saeima committees

Parties elected to the 13th Saeima have picked representatives to work in the parliament’s standing committees. Final decision will be made 20 November. Harmony may be represented by deputies Nikolajs Kabanovs and Jānis Tutins in Saeima’s Foreign Affairs Committee. Attīstībai/Par! has picked Artis Pabriks, and Union of Greens and Farmers has picked Uldis Augulis.

What would you wish Latvia for its centenary?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Polls Archive



Category feed: Feed: