Punished with 3.400 euro alcolock after eight glasses
As from 1st of July 2018 a driver caught in Belgium with more than 1,8 per mille alcohol in the blood – the equivalent of eight to eleven glasses – will be punished with an obligatory alolock for at least one year to livelong, costing 3.400 euro per year. Anyone not wanting to pay for this, can choose to turn in his driver’s license.
Belgian federal parliament has voted the new laws on Thursday. Repeat offenders, caught within three years with 1,2 pro mille or more in their blood, will also be forced to install an alcolock. “This way we’ll fight the ones that are caught drinking while driving time after time”, Minister for Mobility François Bellot (MR) says.
Only imposed 53 times
The alolock exists since 2012, but until now police judges hesitated to enforce it because of being ‘too expensive and too easy to sail around’. Between 2012 and 2017 the alcohol lock was imposed in only 53 cases. As from July 1st the judges are forced to impose it in the most severe cases.
There are some exceptions though. Bus and truck drivers will get the alcolock in their personal car and can continue to do their job without it in the bus or truck. Every driver has the choice to turn in his driver’s license for the period, if he doesn’t have the money to pay for the alcolock.
Police judges are not so happy with having less freedom to determine the punishment. “You might put people to great expenses”, Kathleen Stinckens, police judge in Leuven says. She calculated it would come to an average of 20 alcolocks per week in her jurisdiction alone. For the whole country it will mean a multiple of it.
Trying to sail around an alcolock in your car is only possible with the help of a passenger blowing for you. The car won’t start if the person blowing in the alcolock has more than 0,2 per mille alcohol in his/her blood.
Blow every 5 to 10 minutes
“Once driving, you’ll have to blow again every 5 to 10 minutes”, says Eddy Roozeleer from the Krautli service center that officially is appointed to install the alcolocks. “A positive test is kept into memory. Whoever blows positive three consecutive times, will have to report within ten days. Otherwise the car will be blocked automatically.”
“In the first year the alcolock has to be read out by the agency following up the offender every two months, after this every six months”, says Roozeleer. He believes the system is tampering-proof. The only way is having someone else blowing for you all the time.