Fleet News

In-car breathalyser plan labelled 'a gimmick'

RENAULT'S mainstream fleet cars could be equipped with an in-built breathalyser by the year 2000, the company revealed this week. If fleet operators request it, the £25 device could easily be linked to the engine management system so that the car would not start with a drinker in charge.

But within hours of the announcement fleet operators were condemning the device. The RAC went further, saying the device was 'grossly irresponsible' and an encouragement for people to drink and drive. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents claimed people would drink up to the limit and then drive which could prove to be very dangerous.

Norman Donkin, secretary general at the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association said: 'You ought to know whether you are capable of driving or not and this will encourage people to drink and - if they are below the limit - to drive. I don't see that as sensible. I object to the invention in principal. Driver training and education would do more good.'

The AA pointed out that it would be easy to get a friend to blow in the device in order to beat the engine immobiliser and warned: 'This is encouraging drivers to have that extra drink.' Clearly, however, Renault sees a problem that needs to be addressed. In France, it is estimated that 40% of drivers causing fatal road accidents have been drinking.

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