Alcohol interlocks are going to become mandatory for repeat drink driving offenders in New South Wales particularly for high range offenders, according to an announcement by the Road Minister recently.
Dun Gay, the NSW Road Minister announced that those who were caught with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.150 or above twice in a 5 year period would get the device fitted into their car. Road safety experts have predicted a sizable reduction in alcohol fuelled incidents on state roads within the next 5 years due to the program.
The alcohol interlock is an electronic device that gets fitted to a vehicle’s ignition system, it doesn’t allow them to start the car without a breath test. If they are over the limit the vehicle will not start. The following excerpt explains further:
The driver must provide a breath analysis by blowing into the device, which then prevents the vehicle from starting if the driver has been consuming a certain amount of alcohol.
Mr Gay said legislation would be introduced into NSW parliament next year, which also includes additional penalties for drivers who exceed their demerit point limit.
“Road safety experts estimate the introduction of mandatory interlocks will prevent at least 140 alcohol-related crashes, six fatalities and 102 injuries in the first five years alone,” Mr Gay said.
In addition to reducing fatalities, injuries and crashes in general, state government believes that introducing the mandatory interlocks will result in almost 500 fewer drink driving offences per year across the state.
The Minister also explained that in addition to an alcohol interlock, drink drivers convicted of a second or subsequent offence within five years will also be required to pass a driving knowledge test, providing even more incentive for people to avoid drink driving.
The alcohol interlock program is not new to NSW but this time it is going to be mandatory for these problem drivers. Currently the program exists only on a voluntary basis and this doesn’t seem very effective. Only 700 drivers in the state are currently participating in the mandatory interlock program. The state government expects this number to soar to at least 8000 per year.
The post on www.themotorreport.com.au goes on to explain:
Mr Gay congratulated the NRMA, who lobbied for the introduction of the devices.
NRMA President Wendy Machin said the new policy would improve road safety.
“An NRMA survey found 80 percent of people ranked tougher penalties for dangerous and repeat drink driving offenders as the top priority to keep roads safe; this policy shows that the Government has listened to the public,” Ms Machin said.
“When you consider that 17 percent of drink drivers reoffend, it’s clear we need tougher penalties and that’s why the NRMA first proposed that this policy be introduced last year.”
This isn’t the only measures being introduced to deter would-be drunk drivers in the state, additional penalties will also be introduced for drivers who exceed their demerit point limit twice in five years. These drivers will be required to re-sit the NSW Driver Knowledge Test and complete a driver education course.