Interlocks for all drink drivers

RACV RoyalAuto magazine

Drink driving: Alcohol interlock

Tough new penalties for drink driving will require drivers detected at 0.05 or over to have an alcohol interlock device fitted to their car for six months after regaining their licence.

A range of new laws, which are expected to come into effect on 30 April, will strengthen penalties for drink drivers and keep Victorian road users safer.

The driver safety reforms include laws that mean first-time full licence holders who are detected with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of between 0.05 and 0.069 will have their licences cancelled and be disqualified from re-applying for three months.

Around 3000 full licence holders are detected in this BAC range each year in Victoria, with data showing that drink drivers are twice as likely as other road users to be involved in a road accident.

Drink driving contributed to almost a quarter (23 per cent) of Victorian road deaths last year.

In a Victorian first, drivers detected at 0.05 or over will also be required to have an alcohol interlock device fitted to their car for six months, costing the driver about $180 to install as well as ongoing servicing costs and a $100 removal fee.

These initiatives are supported by research demonstrating that licence disqualification can cut repeated drink-driving incidents by 70 per cent, and that using alcohol interlock devices reduces repeated drink driving by 63 per cent.

RACV’s manager road user behaviour, Melinda Spiteri, says the organisation welcomes the changes.

“RACV supports stricter penalties for those who drink drive, and the government’s latest announcement addresses RACV’s previous calls to expand the alcohol ignition lock program,” she says.

“It sends a clear message that drink driving isn’t acceptable, and if you are going to drink you shouldn’t drive.”

Melinda says such measures must be part of a holistic approach to tackling drink driving, and accompanied by alcohol rehabilitation and community education programs.

In line with this, convicted drink drivers will also have to attend a behaviour change program focusing on alcohol screening and assessment as well as techniques to address the underlying causes of drink driving.

Written by Kathryn Kernohan
February 19, 2018