A permanent alcohol interlock program for drinking drivers came into force on 1 January 2012. The Swedish Transport Agency is responsible for the program that applies to all types of driver's licenses.
The program includes both a one-year and a two-year alternative. The two-year program applies to offenders that have committed a severe drink driving offence (BAC > 1 g/L, the legal limit in Sweden is 0.2 g/L), have an earlier offence within the previous five years, or have the diagnosis alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence. All others are assigned to the one-year program.
Several aspects of the alcohol interlock program are evaluated at VTI. This report presents the results of a survey in which 1,100 questionnaires were answered by both participants and non-participants. The response rate was 45 percent of the participants in the interlock program and 28 percent of the non-participants. The average age of the respondents was just over 50 years, with marginal differences between participants and non-participants. The proportion of women among the respondents in the program was 13 percent, compared to 20 percent of the respondents without alcolock.
It is possible to apply for a license with the alcolock condition directly after the drink driving offence and the withdrawal of the driver’s license. On average, it took little more than three months from the drink driving offence until the respondent received his or her conditioned license in the one-year program, and little more than five months for respondents in the two-year program. This time depends on how long after the drink driving offence the participants made their application, but there is also a request for faster processing times at the Transport Agency.
Moreover, the respondents wish for clearer and simplified information about the application procedure, including information about doctors, alcohol and drug testing, costs, and alcolock installation.
Among the participants in the interlock program who are employed or have their own business, the main reason for participating were the need to operate a vehicle at work or to get to / from work. Among those not working the main reasons for participating were that the driver’s license was required in their social life and to have a meaningful leisure time, as well as for purchases. For those without alcohol interlocks the main reasons for not applying were the costs of the program (64%), that they were afraid of being regarded as alcoholics (37%), or that they did well without a license (26%).