Alcohol Interlocks – new PACTS Research Project

Alcohol Interlocks – new PACTS Research Project

Alcolocks Feasibility Study

In May 2019, PACTS was awarded a grant from the Department for Transport to undertake research into the feasibility of the using alcohol interlocks (“alcolocks”) as part of drink-drive offender rehabilitation programmes. PACTS has assembled a team of experts with relevant skills and expertise, including: the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), IAM RoadSmart, Road Safety Support and Christopher Miller, an independent consultant and former senior police officer.

Since 2010, there have been around 240 deaths a year in Great Britain involving a driver over the legal drink drive limit. This amounts to some 13% of total road deaths.

One aspect to the drink drive problem is reoffending. More than 5,000 drivers have been caught drink driving on more than one occasion in the past four years. Use of alcohol ignition interlocks has been suggested as a potential method for reducing reoffending. There is much international evidence that alcohol interlocks can reduce drink drive recidivism when they are used, particularly in conjunction with other interventions.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the feasibility of using alcohol interlocks as part of drink drive offender rehabilitation programmes by drawing on existing research, experience and expertise from across the UK and Europe. Depending upon the findings of the study, field trials may be recommended as a next step. Such trials would be a matter for a second piece of research and not for this report.

PACTS and its project partners will review:

  • Earlier trails of alcohol interlocks in the UK;
  • Experience of voluntary use of alcohol interlocks in the UK by the private sector and police;
  • Experience in other countries in Europe and elsewhere; How the system might be administered in the UK with considerations for the technical and legal aspects;
  • The benefits that might be delivered, including reduced, drink drive offending, fewer casualties and wider personal or societal benefits);
  • The public acceptability and value for money of schemes.

Particular focus will be given to how alcohol interlocks would be integrated with drink drive rehabilitation courses and High Risk Offender Schemes.

PACTS intends to publish in 2020.

The project will be led by PACTS.

PACTS Executive Director, David Davies, said “More than fifty years after the introduction of the breathalyser in the UK, drink driving remains a major road safety problem with around 240 deaths each year involving a driver over the legal limit. Alcolocks technology and experience of using them has moved on considerably in recent years and the Department of Transport committed to investigating the feasibility of their use in its Road Safety Statement 2019. PACTS is very pleased to be leading this experienced and expert team to deliver the research for the government.”

If you would like further details, please contact Project Officer Frank Norbury at

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