In its quest to make drivers more aware of road safety, Volvo Cars has developed an experimental car with a built-in breathalyser and speed limiter, guaranteed to stop would-be offenders . . .

In its quest to make drivers more aware of road safety, Volvo Cars has developed an experimental car with a built-in breathalyser and speed limiter, guaranteed to stop would-be offenders . . .

The car's seat belt clip doubles as a breathalyser and it has a special ignition key that limits the car to any predetermined speed.

In order to start the car, the driver has to blow into the built-in device before fastening the seat belt. The car will only start if the breathalyser test is negative and the seat belt secured.

In the next stage, the car's speed can be limited to a predetermined speed using the special ignition key.

"We know that a very large proportion of car accidents resulting in serious injuries or fatalities are caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol," said Ingrid Skogsma, head of the Volvo Safety Centre.

"Many car accidents also result in serious personal injuries because drivers and passengers fail to wear their seat belts. That is why we are also working on the development of a breathalyser lock. With our multi-lock technology, the aim is to try to prevent these accidents," Skogsma continued.

According to Volvo Cars, European Union statistics show that the risk of 18-to 25-year olds being involved in an accident is more than twice that of people aged between 26 and 50.

"Using our special ignition key, we can easily program the car so it cannot exceed 90 km/h, for instance. This gives parents an added measure of security when they lend their cars to their children with fresh driving licences.

"This is also a technology that lends itself to implementation in different types of commercial traffic. A distribution truck that never leaves the urban area, for instance, never needs to exceed 70 km/h," said Skogsmo.

Used in conjunction with the special key, the "multi-lock system" has been designed to raise the general public's interest in traffic safety.

"This experimental car is an important step for us in evaluating the possibility to offer multi-lock technology to all our car customers," says Skogsmo.