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A Belgium-based safe driving organization has launched a campaign to promote an innovative—yet relatively simple—program for reducing drunk driving.

Responsible Young Drivers (RYD) organizes events throughout Belgium to bring attention to safety issues like seat belt use and drunk driving, with an emphasis on youth. In Belgium, the legal drinking age for beer and wine is 16; 18 for liquor-based drinks. Their most recent campaign took place at the 22nd anniversary of the opening of Carré, a mega-club capable of holding thousands of party-goers.

Before exiting the massive Carré parking lot, drivers were required to blow into a breathalyzer before the parking lot barrier would open. Knowing in advance that they wouldn’t be able to leave the parking lot drunk, over 90% of drivers were able to open the barrier on their first try. The other 10% switched seats with a confirmed sober driver or made other arrangements.

In the U.S., it is illegal to have any alcohol in your system while driving if you are under 21, but according to the Centers for Disease Control, 34% of drivers with BAC levels of 0.08% or higher involved in fatal crashes in 2010 were between the ages of 21-24, the prime age for clubbing.

What do you think? RYD is looking to replicate the success at other major venues where alcohol is prevalent. Could this technology work at U.S. clubs, festivals, stadiums, or anywhere people gather to celebrate?

Sobering Up Administrator

Sobering Up Administrator

Sobering Up: A blog about drunk driving, alcohol addiction, and criminal justice, is anything but a corporate blog. Sobering Up is an opportunity for anyone interested or involved in the issues of drunk driving, alcohol-fueled crime, alcohol dependence and addiction, and the justice system to participate in the conversation.


  1. On the other hand, the only business lost would be patrons who the clubs tend to overserve because that is where the profits are. Ethical business practices and personal responsibility are choices, as are the steps we can take as a society when we are threatened by those who practice neither. I survived a drunk driving assault in 1989 and support efforts to make it harder to do that to others.

    I can see this saving lives at concerts and sporting events all over the country.

  2. It’s amazing technology and a great idea, but I don’t think this is going to help stop drunk driving amongst young people. It also does address the drug use that happens in these clubs. Driving under the influence is not only a problem with drinking and driving. I agree with a previous commenter, that most of these clubbers will migrate to another club that is not equipped with a fancy alcohol monitoring barrier.

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