Drunken drivers on laser gunpoint

As drink-driving is plaguing Russia’s roads, clever inventors have come up with a brand new way to catch such criminals. RT put the new invention to the test.

Over a thousand people died from drink-driving related incidents in 2010, with ten times that number injured.

Although policemen apprehend an average of eight suspected drink drivers a night, the tools used to fight this problem are basic and relies on an officer’s instincts.

But now a new device developed by Russian minds may change that. The alco-laser is revolutionary, with its manufacturers claiming it can detect alcohol in a vehicle moving at speeds of up to 150 kilometres per hour. Its purpose is to give police a helping hand.

“This device cannot provide evidence, as it may detect drunk passengers rather than drivers,” Aleksandr Romanov, from the Interior Ministry Special Equipment Institute, told RT. “This is just an indication for road police.”

If the beams are reflected in a certain way, the laser shows ethanol is in the car. Then, through a wi-fi connection, it sends a signal to a handheld device in 0.1 seconds.

In a controlled environment, so far the tests have proven positive, but its real trial will come in 2013 when it is deployed among Russia’s traffic police.

As such those on the front line see further punishment rather than detection as the most successful deterrent.

“The legislation is much harsher now and the number of drunk drivers is dropping,” Dmitry Varfolomeev, from the Interior Ministry’s traffic police department, told RT. “If we can prove that the driver was drunk, he will be deprived of his license for between 1.5 and two years. Now they don’t get away with paying fines.”

Those on the sidelines watching feel real changes will only come with further amendments to the law.

“We have submitted a bill to the state Duma which is being considered,” Nikolay Bubnov, chairman of the Moscow Anti-alcoholic Front branch, told RT. “It should not only be about disqualification from driving, there must also be further action. First time – treatment, second time – imprisonment.”

Russia’s death and accident toll from drink-driving incidents currently puts it among the world’s worst offenders.

Although this ground-breaking invention may give police a new weapon in their arsenal, many argue the real danger lies in people’s attitudes to the crime, something equipment alone is unlikely to alter.

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