On the 4th of September this year, the State Government passed legislation amending our traffic law and amend the interlock program to be tougher on drink driving.
Whilst the alcohol interlock program isn’t new, the tougher amendments now provide that mandatory interlocks devices will need to be fitted to any vehicle driven by a person convicted of mid-range drink driving (meaning a BAC of 0.10 or higher). The changes will take effect from Friday 10th September 2021, applying to all persons whose licence disqualification ends on or after Thursday 9th September 2021. The interlock program will still apply to persons who are convicted of high range drink driving, or persons convicted of more than one drink drive offence, no matter the BAC.
The interlock program itself has also moved away from a time-based approach, to being performance-based – rather than simply require a period of time where a person must have the interlock device installed, the program now requires a learning period of 8 months and a performance period of 4 months, where the person will be monitored and the program extended if a consistent record of clear breath tests cannot be shown. This program is being further enforced and encouraged by extending the period of time a person cannot drive from 2 years to 5 years, if one chooses to not participate in the program.
In addition to the extension to the interlock program, a mandatory drink driving education intervention program will also introduced to all persons convicted of any drink driving offences committed on or after Friday 10th September 2021. This will include a multi-session course for repeat offenders (in order to finish the interlock program) and a mandatory online course for all drink driving offenders teaching the foundations for separating drinking from driving, before they may get their licence back.