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MHF hopes many entities will promote sobriety checks to combat drunk driving

The Swedish Transport Administration has opened up the application for actors who want to apply for grants to set up facilities for sobriety control in ports or other places in the traffic environment. Photo: MHF

14.07.2023 - Alcohol barriers prevent intoxicated drivers from entering the roads. Until August 7, entities can apply for grants from the Swedish Transport Administration to set up sobriety check facilities in ports or other areas in the traffic environment. MHF hopes many entities will apply and wish to take steps to stop drunk driving.

At the end of 2022, the government commissioned the Swedish Transport Administration to distribute 50 million kronor to entities wishing to operate sobriety check facilities in ports or other traffic environments. This is a restart of a previous government mission that still needs to be completed.

The Swedish Transport Administration's application process opened at the end of May. Until August 7, entities can apply for grants to set up sobriety check facilities.

"This is a huge step in the right direction. It means the government takes the issue of alcohol and driving seriously," says Tomas Jonsson, an expert in traffic safety issues for MHF.

Owners of ports and other entities, such as airports, marketplaces, logistics or distribution centres, can now apply for investment grants to establish sobriety check facilities.

The grant applies to new facilities and is up to three million kronor per facility for self-checks of drivers' alcohol impairment and up to ten million kronor per facility for authority checks. A condition for the grant is that the entity agrees to operate the facility for at least five years.

25 percent of all fatal traffic accidents are alcohol and drug-related.

"Drunk driving is one of our biggest individual traffic problems. Therefore, it is crucial that we can find different resources from society, both from public authorities and private entities, where we can help prevent and stop drunk driving," says Tomas Jonsson.

Trial Projects with Alcohol Barriers MHF conducted two trial projects in 2013-2015 with alcohol barriers that successfully prevented drunk driving in the ports of Gothenburg and Stockholm.

"On the first day of the trial in Stockholm, nine suspected drunk drivers were caught in 1.5 hours. During the last month of the trial period, not a single intoxicated driver was found," says Tomas Jonsson.

Automatic sobriety checks are one of the most effective ways to stop drunk drivers in Sweden's ports and customs areas.

"Alcohol barriers save lives in traffic," says Tomas Jonsson.

How an Automatic Sobriety Check Works Alcohol barriers work in such a way that drivers exiting a ferry in a port must undergo an automatic sobriety check. If the driver is sober, the barrier lifts. If a driver is under the influence of alcohol, the alcohol barrier prevents the person from entering traffic and the police are called.

The advantages of automatic sobriety checks are that the checks can be managed remotely from a traffic control center without the need for personnel on site. This does not require large resources from the police, customs, and coast guard to conduct routine sobriety checks in a port. Police are only called when a suspected drunk driver is stopped.

Drunk Driving – Major Problem in Ports Drunk driving is a bigger problem in ports and customs areas than in the rest of the traffic environment. The Customs Service stopped 650 alcohol and drug-impaired drivers in 2022. This is almost double compared to 2016 when 334 drivers were apprehended for drunk driving. The Customs Service conducted 63,141 drunk driving checks in 2022, according to Customs statistics.


MHF - The Drivers' Total Sobriety Association was formed in 1926 and works to ensure that no one dies from drunk driving. MHF is a non-profit traffic safety organization and has local branches throughout the country.

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