Russia is mulling on new ways to curb the problem of people driving under the influence of alcohol. A Reuters report suggests that cars in the country may be fitted with breathalysers to curb drink and driving. The breathalyser devices will come built-in the car and would require the driver to take a test before starting the ignition. The Russian government is planning ways to encourage car manufacturers to install the devices in the vehicles during production itself.
The industry ministry will chart out a plan by end of 2020, to promote the mass use of ‘interlocks’ that need the driver to take the breathalyser test before the car starts. Russia has been trying to improve road safety for years now and while the statistics have been showing positive signs, about 17,000 people died in road accidents in the country last year.
Installing breathalyser devices in cars would mean adding additional cost for the carmakers and would likely be opposed by many, especially at a time when new car sales have been affected negatively due to the coronavirus pandemic. So far, the Russian government’s pushes to deploy alcohol interlocks in the country have proven unsuccessful.
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Russians have long had a reputation as ferocious drinkers, but alcoholic consumption has fallen by an estimated 43% from 2003 to 2016, according to a World Health Organization study last year.
Even so, 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.
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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