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Volvo Trucks takes up the struggle against alcohol on Europe’s roads

One in three fatal road accidents is caused by alcohol. If the EU’s goal of halving the number of traffic fatalities between 2001 and 2010 is to be realised, this problem has to be addressed with the utmost seriousness. That is why Volvo Trucks and the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) are conducting a Europe-wide campaign called “Safe & Sober”. A new summit meeting has been set for December 2 in Paris.
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Through dialogue with decision-makers and opinion-shapers in various European countries, ETSC and Volvo Trucks aim to pave the way for the systematic promotion of sobriety in traffic at all levels. The seminar in Paris is being organised in cooperation with Association Prévention Routtière. Among the participants are a number of key players, all of whom will contribute their experience.

Alcolock
One highly effective and simple way of reducing the risk of alcohol-related accidents is to equip cars, trucks and buses with alcolocks. Volvo Trucks is a firm supporter of the voluntary use of alcolocks and back in 2005 was the first vehicle manufacturer to factory-fit alcolocks as an option.

“The first of our customers to install alcolocks in their vehicles are very satisfied with the devices, which have been well received by their drivers,” says Jean-Noel Thenault, President of Volvo Trucks in France.

Only Sweden has made even more progress, with more than 20,000 trucks and buses equipped with the feature.

France is best in Europe
France is an excellent example of how a systematic traffic-safety drive can lead to radical improvements in a short time. Between 2001 and 2007, the number of traffic fatalities dropped by 43 percent, the best improvement in Europe. Behind this success lies, above all, enhanced speed monitoring and increased use of seat belts. However, sobriety behind the wheel has also been improved. Having said that, alcohol is still the single biggest cause of fatal traffic accidents in France, as in the rest of Europe. That may explain why there is such immense interest in the alcolock here. One important step will be taken in 2009 with the compulsory fitting of alcolocks in all French school buses.

Changed attitudes
“From our perspective at Volvo Trucks we hope that this trend in France will encourage many more countries to note the benefits of the alcolock as an important accident-prevention aid. The technology is here and it is easy to use. Blowing into a nozzle before turning the key is not any more awkward than putting on your safety belt. It’s largely a matter of attitudes, and that is something we want to change through knowledge and dialogue,” says Lennart Pilskog.

Seminars within the framework of the Safe & Sober campaign were previously held in Finland, Germany, Britain, Belgium and Poland. For more information please visit www.etsc.be.

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