In-car breathalisers to shut down serious drink drivers

SERIOUS and repeat drink driving offenders from the Northern Rivers could be prevented from driving next year if a court deems an interlock breath testing device be fitted to their vehicles.

A Transport NSW spokesman said an alcohol interlock is an electronic breath-testing device connected to the ignition of a vehicle.

"Drivers must provide a breath sample that the interlock analyses for the presence of alcohol before the vehicle will start," the spokesman said.

"Randomly timed breath tests must also be passed during a journey.

"If at any time the interlock detects alcohol on the driver's breath, the vehicle's ignition system will be disabled."

To obtain an interlock device, offenders must complete the Drink-less program survey about alcohol use that takes about five minutes plus a short discussion with a doctor.

The applicant will receive a signed Drink-less certificate from their doctor that must be taken to the RMS registry to apply for an interlock licence.

From February, people convicted of high-range drink driving or repeat/other serious drink driving can be made to participate in the program for a minimum of a year with a minimum 12-month licence suspension.

The spokesman said once the offender completes their licence suspension period, they will be required to complete the Interlock Program.

"Research shows drivers previously convicted of drink driving are about four times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than an average driver.

"The Interlock Program is designed to help drink drivers separate drinking and driving and reduce this road safety risk."

"It does this by keeping offenders on a closely monitored basis, with the interlock physically preventing drink driving."

"Data monitoring, medical consultations and counselling for Interlock Program participants may help achieve longer term behaviour change and extend road safety benefits beyond the time an interlock is installed."

Topics:  drink driving

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