DUI (Driving Under the Influence of alcohol) is one of the greatest dangers in road traffic. In Finland, every year approximately 80 people die and 1000 are injured in accidents caused by DUI. A three year BAIID (Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device, also known as "alcolock") experiment was launched on 1st July 2005 in Finland as a new means of reducing the amount of DUI and thus improving traffic safety.
The aim of the experiment is to study the efficiency of the use of alcolock in preventing drunken driving. The aim of the follow-up study is to estimate the results of the experiment and provide information for the supervision of the experiment.
The study is carried out in three parts:
- Statistical analysis of the impacts of alcolock (to be carried out later),
- Conceptions and opinions about alcolock (finished),
- Process follow-up (finished).
The material for the study was gathered from literature, telephone interviews, with surveys sent to participants, by interviewing authorities and experts responsible and acting in the process as well as organising workshops for these experts.
(Note that these are interim results)
Communications between process parties were insufficient. Participants felt that information concerning the process was difficult to get and that it was not always adequate. Also the authorities saw some shortcomings in inter-office communications. The role of police was emphasised in order to improve communications to participants and organising regular meetings for authorities.
There is a considerable delay between the time that a driver is arrested for DUI and the conviction in court. This can take up to a few months and the suspect is banned from driving during this period.
The role of the medical monitoring programme organised by the health authorities was criticised as being inappropriate and inefficient. The role of the medical monitoring programme in the future of the experiment should be discussed between authorities.
The following observations were made in the interviews of the alcolock users:
1. The alcolock experiment was considered to be a punishment or something to be ashamed of.
2. Using the alcolock device needed training at the beginning of the experiment, and participants complained of malfunctions with the device especially in cold weather.
3. At the end of the experiment the participant delivered the final medical certificate to the police. The latest data was unloaded, the alcolock removed or modified for voluntary use, and the driving licence returned. Differences in this process were observed between municipalities.
4. People considered the medical monitoring programme as an essential and important part of the experiment.
5. The total costs of the experiment were €2000 to €3000. In addition, for many people notable time and travel costs were incurred by the experiment. The biggest differences in costs were due to the medical monitoring programme; under municipal health care the programme was almost free whereas in a private clinic it cost roughly €1000.
6. People convicted of drink-driving and special modes of transport like school transport were considered the best targets for increasing the use of the alcolock.
In the follow-up of the experiment, a statistical analysis and a new client survey including also the drop-outs and declined should be conducted in order to gain more understanding of the experiences.