Lion's devices make inroads into Europe.
Byline: Ian Jones Managing Director, Lions Laboratories Ltd
AN ignition interlock device (IID), is a breath alcohol instrument installed in a car, taxi, truck, bus, tram or train, which is designed to allow the ignition to start the engine only when the driver's breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) is below a pre-determined limit.
The driver needs to give a breath sample, which is analysed by the IID, before turning the ignition key. If the BrAC is above the pre-set limit, the IID prevents the driver from starting the vehicle.
For increased public safety, pre-set BrAC limits are always considerably lower than police enforced national drink/drive limits.
Ignition interlock devices have been in use since the 1980s, primarily in the USA and Canada, where law courts rule that an IID may be fitted, as an alternative option on drink/drive convictions, rather than the loss of a driver's licence.
Since 2005, consideration has been given outside North America, to installing IIDs in commercial and public service vehicles eg trucks, buses, school buses, taxi-cabs, delivery vans etc. This is being driven in some countries by a desire to further improve road safety and reduce companies' liabilities in the event of an accident.
Lion Laboratories Limited, based in Barry, South Wales, have been in the breath alcohol detection business since 1967.
Founded in 1967, by Thomas Parry Jones MBE, the inventor of the electronic breathalyser, Lion has always been a leader in the development and sale of breathalysers to police, medical and workplace testing applications. To enter the IID market, however, Lion has had to develop its own fully-integrated IID, which has proved challenging both in terms of the technology and the expertise needed for a new business venture.
Development of the Lion designed IIDs commenced with the lion DS(r)-10 in 2010 and first sales were quickly made in the United Kingdom, even though it is currently a non-regulated market.
The lion DS(r)-10 is a fully integrated IID, utilising a new design breath alcohol instrument and a customdesigned interlock immobiliser.
A partnership was set up with a distributor (Alcolock(r)GB), which utilises a tracking system and website with data management which can be accessed remotely via the internet. As a result, National Express placed an order for Lion IIDs to be fitted to its entire United Kingdom fleet of 600 coaches.
The lion DS(r)-10 was followed by an enhanced Lion IID, the lion DS(r)-15 in 2012.
The lion DS(r)-15 enabled Lion to start selling into the mostly regulated European market, which required operation of the IID at low temperatures. This was quickly followed by the lion DS(r)-20, which incorporated additional enhanced performance and the capability to operate at extremely high and low temperatures, which is absolutely necessary in many European and worldwide markets. In addition to the IID products, Lion has also had to develop back office software and set up a network of installation partners who actually carry out the installation into vehicles.
Lion's ignition interlock devices can stop a drink-driver's vehicle