Stockholm acts to block drunken bus drivers

Stockholm public transport operator SL will install ignition locks on all of its buses within the next two years, ensuring drivers who have been drinking can't start their vehicles.

Stockholm acts to block drunken bus drivers

Although SL initially decided in 2006 to move ahead with the installation, the project was delayed partly due to concerns that the drivers would be offended, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reported.

“There is a certain fear, particularly in the profession, that drivers would feel it is an invasion of privacy and that it is awkward to have to blow [into the device],” Erik Stenbäck, security engineer at SL, told the newspaper.

All drivers will have to blow into the devices, which prevent a vehicle from starting if it senses alcohol in the driver’s breath.

“It is of no intrinsic value to SL for the driver to have to blow in front of passengers,” Stenbäck told DN.

“The ignition lock is mounted on the left in the driver’s seat and very few can see it being used. However, we want to show our passengers that SL’s drivers are not intoxicated.”

The company recently installed the devices for a project on approximately 100 buses that leave from Kallhäll in Järfalla, northwest of Stockholm, the report said.

In addition, the purchases of new buses for the suburbs of Norrtälje, Nacka-Värmdö, Botkyrka and Söderort have all required that the devices be installed on the vehicles.

Separately, on Tuesday, Birgitta Rydberg, a Liberal Party commissioner on the Stockholm county council called for ignition locks to be installed in all council cars, including those of managers.

“County council commissioners and senior officials will naturally be subject to the same rules,” Rydberg, who has the device installed in her official car, told DN.

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Spain has second highest rate of daily alcohol drinkers in EU 

More than one in ten Spaniards drink alcohol every day, making them the Europeans who drink most regularly after the Portuguese, new Eurostat data reveals. 

Spain has second highest rate of daily alcohol drinkers in EU 
Photo: Cristina Quicler/AFP

Thirteen percent of people in Spain drink alcohol every day, a similar rate to Italy, where 12 percent enjoy a tipple on a daily basis, and only behind Portugal, where 20 percent of people have an alcoholic drink seven days a week.

That puts Spaniards above the EU average of 8.4 percent daily drinkers, data published by Eurostat in July 2021 reveals. 

This consistent alcoholic intake among Spaniards is far higher than in countries such as Sweden (1.8 percent daily drinkers), Poland (1.6 percent), Norway (1.4 percent), Estonia (1.3 percent) and Latvia (1.2 percent). 

However, the survey that looked at the frequency of alcohol consumption in people aged 15 and over shows that weekly and monthly drinking habits among Spaniards are more in line with European averages. 

A total of 22.9 percent of respondents from Spain said they drunk booze on a weekly basis, 18.3 percent every month, 12.5 percent less than once a month, and 33 percent haven’t had a drink ever or in the last year. 

Furthermore, another part of the study which looked at heavy episodic drinking found that Spaniards are the third least likely to get blind drunk, after Cypriots and Italians.

The Europeans who ingested more than 60 grammes of pure ethanol on a single occasion at least once a month in 2019 were Danes (37.8 percent), Romanians (35 percent), Luxembourgers (34.3 percent) and Germans (30.4 percent). 

The UK did not form part of the study but Ireland is included. 

Overall, Eurostat’s findings reflect how the Spanish habit of enjoying a glass of wine with a meal or a small beer (caña) outdoors with friends continues to be common daily practice, even though 13 percent does not make it prevalent. 

Spaniards’ tendency to drink in moderation also continues to prevail, even though a 2016 study by Danish pharmaceuticals company Lundbeck found that one in six people in the country still drinks too much.