Only 21 Belgian drivers with ignition interlock device

So far only 21 Belgian motorists have been ordered to use an ignition interlock device in their cars. The device prevents drivers from starting their car when they fail a breathalyser test and are found to have been drinking alcohol.

The lawmaker gave Belgian judges the opportunity to oblige motorists to install such a device four years ago, but few have been the judges who have made use of this opportunity.

The Belgian figure contrast markedly with the figure north of the border. In the Netherlands 4,000 drivers have been told to install the device.

Koen Peeters of the Traffic Safety Institute: "In the Netherlands it's an automatic outcome when a certain alcohol/blood level is measured. Drivers who refuse the device receive a five year driving ban."

Police judge Kathleen Stinckens believes there are reasons why the device is only rarely used in Belgium: "There is the high cost. Many drivers also use company or leasing cars and that complicates matters."

Drivers who are ordered to install the device also need to agree to the installation as it forms part of a wider framework that involves guidance by a psychologist."