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International Alcohol Interlock Symposia Series

Since 2000, TIRF has organized and hosted the international symposia series on alcohol interlocks in partnership with government agencies in different jurisdictions. An alcohol ignition interlock is a breath-testing device that is attached to the starter of a vehicle. These devices were designed to prevent drivers who have been drinking from starting their vehicle when their breath alcohol concentration is above a pre-set limit. A large body of research evidence exists that demonstrates the effectiveness of these devices in preventing drinking and driving, and, when such devices are embedded in a well-designed program, these devices can reduce impaired driving and repeat offences.

The interlock symposia series has been hosted in many countries around the world including Canada, the United States, France, Finland, Australia, and Sweden. The theme of each symposium reflects priority issues and current trends in the field, and brings together a broad cross-section of researchers, government and program staff, policymakers, media, and interested stakeholders. The symposia series has substantially contributed to advances in the management of impaired drivers. Not only has it provided a forum for the exchange of experiences, but it has contributed to the development of partnerships and networks across jurisdictions.

In 2011, the Barry Sweedler award was established as part of the symposia series. Barry’s influential career in road safety spanned more than three decades. Solutions to reduce impaired driving was a main focus during his career, and not only was he a strong supporter alcohol ignition interlocks, but he also was inclusive and welcomed new attendees, new ideas, and perspectives at Symposia to advance the field. In recognition of his contribution, the Barry Sweedler Award is conferred upon one individual each year who has supported, promoted, strengthened, and advanced the use of alcohol interlocks, and encouraged cooperation across agencies, built partnerships, and raised awareness the effectiveness of these devices.

Symposium website:


  • Alcohol Countermeasure Systems Corp
  • Drager Safety Diagnostics
  • Smart Start, Inc.
  • Lifesafer Interlock
  • Coalition of Ignition Interlock Manufacturers (CIIM)
Project Status: Ongoing

Related Publications

If you would like more information about this or any other project, contact:

Communications & Programs

613-238-5235 (office)
1-877-238-5235 (toll-free)
1-613-238-5292 (fax)

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