According to a recent bulletin from the Office for National Statistics, about 29.2 million adults in England drank alcohol in 2017, with 28.7% of men and 25.6% of women admitting to binge drinking on their heaviest drinking day. Not only are frequent visits to the pub commonplace in the UK, but an estimated 9,050 people in Great Britain were injured or killed when at least one driver was over the legal alcohol limit from 2006 – 2016.
But, new initiatives involving alcohol-sensing technologies are being offered around the UK to help curb drink-driving and mitigate alcohol-involved crimes.
Alcohol Monitoring Pilots are Promising
As areas around the UK are recognizing the impact of drink-driving and alcohol-involved crimes, pilot programs using various alcohol monitoring technologies are emerging across the country.
Interlock Device Programs
The Durham Police force, for example, is the first in the UK to pilot “alcohol interlocks,” which breath-tests drivers before their cars even start. If a driver’s breath test is over the legal alcohol limit, the device will immobilize the vehicle.
Over the last three years, the County of Durham has experienced about 285 road accidents linked to drink-driving; the alcohol-sensing device is fitted to vehicles of repeat drink-driving offenders on a voluntary basis or as part of their “behavior contract”.
Continuous Alcohol Monitoring Programs
In addition to drink-driving, the Office for National Statistics reports that more than half of violent crimes in the UK—including domestic violence and sexual offences—involve alcohol.
Another pilot, Blackburn with Darwen located in Northwest England, uses “sobriety tags” attached to the ankles of offenders of alcohol-involved crimes.
The SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring® (SCRAM CAM®) bracelet detects alcohol levels in the wearer’s sweat and alert authorities if the offender has breached their abstinence order. The sobriety tag tests for alcohol every 30 minutes, or about 48 times a day, making it impossible for a wearer to consume alcohol unnoticed.
Sobriety Tag Program Addresses Alcohol-Involved Offenses
In fact, 92% of people in the program remained sober while wearing the tag, demonstrating the promising effects of this innovative technology.
While the results of these pilot programs seem to be positive, will the UK begin to adopt these technologies to help alleviate alcohol-involved crimes and drink-driving?