Alcohol Interlock Program – When does it Apply?

The Alcohol Interlock Program is a mandatory program aimed at improving road safety and reducing drink driving in NSW. The Program applies to drivers who have been convicted of high range, repeat and other serious drink driving offences on or after February 1, 2015. The program is designed to help drink drivers separate drinking and driving.

Interlocks are electronic breath testing devices that are linked to the ignition system of cars, motorcycles and heavy vehicles. Drivers must give a breath test, which the interlock analyses for the presence of alcohol before the vehicle will start. If alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not start. Breath tests can also be required at random while you drive. The interlock records all test results as well as any attempts to tamper with the device. NSW program participants must have a zero blood alcohol concentration while driving, meaning they cannot have any alcohol in their system.

If you have been convicted of a high range, repeat or other serious drink driving offence, a court will order you to complete:

  • A licence disqualification periods, and
  • A minimum period of participation in the interlock program

The time periods will increase with the severity of the drink driving offence. The minimum period is 12 months.

The court may grant an exemption from participating in the interlock program, but only in limited circumstances, for example if you do not access to a vehicle, or you have a medical condition.

There are a number of responsibilities when being in the program. Failure to comply can result in consequences such as fines, extensions to interlock licence period, licence suspension or cancellation.

These responsibilities include:

  1. Only drive with a zero blood alcohol concentration
  2. Only drive a vehicle which is fitted with an interlock
  3. Ensure that an interlock is installed in at least one vehicle
  4. Only drive the vehicle if you have personally provided the breath sample required by the interlock
  5. Attend all medical consultations required under the program
  6. Ensure that your interlock is serviced when required under the program
  7. Do not drive any motor vehicle if you know that the interlock is not working properly, or has been circumvented or interfered with
  8. Do not drive a vehicle which is loaded with dangerous goods that must be placard under the Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Regulation 2014.

Participation in the program begins when the RMS has issued you with an interlock licence. You need to – complete your disqualification period, visit your doctor and get a medical consultation certificate, and have the device installed in your vehicle.

If you think you might be eligible for the Alcohol Interlock Program, its important to speak to an experienced lawyer as the process can be complicated.


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