Traffic Law

Drink Driving – Alcohol Interlock Devices

Statistics demonstrate that Queensland Police administer approximately 3 million breath tests per annum. 8,032 detected drink drivers or more than one in four in the 2007-08 financial year had at least one previous drunk driving offence in the last five years.

Alarmingly, the 2004 to 2007 crash data shows that drivers with prior drink driving offences were 5.44 times more likely to be a drink driver when involved in serious casualty crashes. It follows that sanctions such as fines or licence disqualifications are not deterring a large proportion of drink drivers from committing further offences.

To combat these statistics, on 6 August 2010, Queensland introduced alcohol interlock legislation, which requires motorists to install alcohol interlock devices where they have been convicted of:

  1. A drink driving offence with a breath/blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more;
  2. Driving under the influence of liquor;
  3. Failing to provide a breath/blood specimen for analysis;
  4. Dangerous driving while affected by alcohol; or
  5. Two or more drink driving offences of any kind within a five-year period.

The interlock devices are designed to prevent a driver who is under the influence of alcohol from operating a vehicle by requiring a specimen of breath before the vehicle will start. Currently the cost of the device is approximately $2000. Motorists are required to have the device fitted to the vehicle and must comply with the requirements for a cumulative period of at least 12 months.

While this new legislation adds additional cost to drink drivers, such cost is balanced against the protection of the community and the opportunity for drivers to obtain their mobility, employment and family commitments.

The day after the court ordered disqualification period ends, the drink driver is required to apply for a new “I” interlock licence. If during the course of the program the driver is intercepted in another vehicle, or starts the nominated vehicle without providing a breath specimen the legislation prescribes a maximum fine of $2800, further disqualification and an order to start the interlock program again.

Drivers are also permitted to opt out of a program, however they will be prohibited from driving a motor vehicle for a minimum period of 2 years (in addition to the disqualification period). Further if intercepted whilst unlicensed they face a maximum fine of $4000 and a further disqualification period of 6 months.

Some exemptions have been built into the legislation to assist the disadvantaged from an otherwise crushing disqualification period.

A criminal lawyer is able to assist you with any issues arising from your drink driving charge or participation in the Alcohol Interlock Program. The consequences of not complying with your obligations could be catastrophic for your employment and family responsibilities.