Automobile repair companies face crisis

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Dutch car repair shops are having a tough time. Their turnover has been dropping for years, NOS reports, and it’s all got to do with improved safety of both cars and roads.

The news site says safety improvements to cars, such as automatic parking systems and adaptive cruise control, prevent accidents. Car crashes have further been reduced due to the replacement of many crossroads by roundabouts.

Trade organisation Focwa believes that turnover will drop by several percent in 2012.

With regards to road safety Eamelje (where we found this story) adds that the 2,000 alcoholsloten (ignition interlock devices) that have been installed in cars in the Netherlands are good news on the one hand, but on the other, a bitter reminder of how many drivers overestimate their ability to keep a heavy vehicle under control. An ignition interlock device is a breathalyser coupled with a car lock. Before starting the motor, the driver must exhale into the device. If the blood alcohol level is too high, the car won’t start.

NOS reports that these devices cost 4,000 euro apiece, and that convicted drivers must pay for the device themselves. Convicted drivers are also legally limited to driving cars with these devices installed—bad news for professional drivers. Only Sweden and the Netherlands make use of ignition interlock devices on a large scale. Experienced drivers that have been caught with a 0.13% blood alcohol level are typically convicted to use these devices.

Twenty percent of all traffic deaths in the Netherlands are connected to drunk driving—130 of 661 road deaths in 2011.

(Photo by Photocapy, some rights reserved)

4 Comments »

  1. Seems to me a balloon and a rubber band, coupled with a bit of thinking ahead, should do a job good of circumventing an interlock.

    Comment by dersk — July 15, 2012 @ 10:27 am

  2. I am sure there are many ways to do that. Maybe these devices are primarily aimed at people who don’t actually want to kill in traffic. I don’t know how effective they are, though.

    Comment by Branko Collin — July 15, 2012 @ 10:44 am

  3. Many answers here: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safety/specialist/knowledge/esave/esafety_measures_known_safety_effects/alcolocks.htm

    Comment by Orangemaster — July 17, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

  4. All those countries wouldn’t have these things installed if they could just be circumvented, unless all of a sudden half the Western world, including car making countries like Sweden and the US have lost the ability to think.

    Comment by Orangemaster — July 17, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

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