Ignition interlock device soon to become a popular punishment

Six years ago legislation was passed to enable judges to order the use of an ignition interlock device for drunk drivers. So far few motorists have been punished in this way, but a new law will soon be enacted that should promote this form of punishment.

Since 2010 an ignition interlock device has only been imposed on 55 drunk drivers. The device obliges a driver to take a breathalyser test before he or she can start the car. Only drivers who are not over the drink-drive limit can set off.

The reason for the infrequent use of this form of punishment is the cost price: 3,500 euros spread over three years, a fee that has to be paid by the offender. In future it will be possible to deduct this cost from any fines making the punishment more affordable.

Under the new law the ignition interlock device could become obligatory for repeat offenders. The device will be imposed for between one and three years.