“D” Day for serial drink drivers: mandatory alcohol interlocks from 1 Feb

Sunday 18 January 2015

Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay today announced the NSW Government had made another critical step towards reducing drink driving with mandatory alcohol interlocks coming into effect from 1 February.

Mr Gay said the introduction of alcohol interlocks was a clear indication the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government was committed to protecting the lives of motorists by cracking down on serial drink driving offenders.

“This program is about protecting innocent people who unfairly have their lives shattered by a drunken idiot,” Mr Gay said.

“I will not stand for drink drivers who gamble with other people’s lives due to their stupid and irresponsible actions.

“While we’ve seen a huge drop in alcohol-related road trauma over the last 30 years, it is a disgrace to still see over 20,000 drivers in NSW convicted of drink driving offences every year.

“Most offenders face up to their actions and don’t re-offend, but unfortunately one-in-six offenders will get another drink driving offence within five years – it is this group we are targeting.

“It is simple really, don’t destroy another family because of a few drinks – have a Plan B and damn well use it.”

Mr Gay said the devices would be mandatory for high range and repeat drink driving offenders and would help put a physical barrier between drinking and driving.

“From 1 February, anyone caught with a high range blood alcohol concentration (0.150 or above) and repeat offenders will be ordered to have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of 12 months,” Mr Gay said.

“The program could see up to 6,000 new drink driving offenders enter the program each year.

“The devices are fitted to a car’s ignition and require drivers to pass a breath test before the engine will turn on. If the device detects alcohol, the vehicle simply won’t start.

“Program participants must only drive a vehicle with an interlock device installed and must drive with a zero blood alcohol concentration at all times.

“Three technology providers have been selected to provide the program after undergoing a competitive tender process. The providers include Guardian Interlock Systems, Draeger Safety Pacific and Smart Start Interlocks.

“Participants will pay around $2,200 per year to providers for the system and the program offers a tiered pricing structure including a fully subsidised option for people in severe financial hardship.

“Penalties for people who attempt to abuse the system will be harsh, including those who attempt to help participants evade the system who will face a fine of $2,200.”

More information is available here: http://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/stayingsafe/alcoholdrugs/drinkdriving/interlock/

MEDIA: Siobhan McCarthy 0407 791 802

View original media release.

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