New alcohol interlock laws
Stricter requirements on NSW drivers convicted of high range, repeat or other serious drink driving offences started on 1 February 2015. These new laws include a requirement for offenders to fit alcohol interlock devices to their vehicles.
An interlock is an electronic breath testing device connected to the ignition of a vehicle. It prevents the vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected.
Courts will order offenders to complete:
- A licence disqualification period, and
- A minimum 12 month participation in the interlock program.
The program provides a physical barrier between alcohol and driving and is another step toward reducing drink driving on NSW roads.
Drivers less likely to take risk
There continues to be a small but significant amount of NSW drivers who report recent drink driving. More than half of the drivers surveyed in our recent research who drove while over the limit in the past six months reported that the introduction of the alcohol interlock program would make them less likely to risk drink driving. This supports the key goals of the new laws, which aim to actively prevent and deter drink driving on NSW roads by high risk offenders, and to reduce alcohol related crashes.
Community supports laws
Our research has also found that there is strong community support for the new laws. More than 80 per cent of drivers surveyed approved of the alcohol interlock program for repeat and high range drink driving offenders, and felt that it was a strong but fair penalty.
The Roads and Maritime Services website has more details in the Mandatory Alcohol Interlock Program. The information includes:
- Fact sheets
- Participant Guide, and
- Guide for Magistrates, Legal Practitioners and Police Prosecutors
New increased traffic offender penalties
New penalties apply from 1 February 2015 for drivers who exceed the demerit points limit for their licence. These stronger penalties target drivers who repeatedly take risks and put others in serious danger.
Unrestricted licence holders who exceed their demerit point limit twice in five years must re-sit and pass the Driver Knowledge Test. They must also complete a driver education course.
The Roads and Maritime Services website has details of Offences and penalties.