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What is the Alcohol Interlock Program?

Certain traffic offences attract a ‘mandatory interlock order’ which means that after the expiry of the relevant disqualification period the driver must have an approved interlock device installed for a specified period of time.

An interlock is an electronic breath testing device linked to a vehicle’s ignition which will prevent a vehicle from starting unless a breath sample is given that returns a negative reading for alcohol.

Mandatory interlock orders apply to:

  1. Low, novice or special range drink driving – second or more offence
  2. Mid range drink driving
  3. High range drink driving
  4. Driving under the influence of alcohol, and
  5. Refusing to provide a sample

However, a court may ‘exempt’ a driver from the interlock requirement if he or she:

  1. Does not have access to a vehicle in which an interlock can be installed
  2. Has a medical condition preventing sufficient breath from being given, or
  3. Is convicted of mid range drink driving and the requirement would cause severe hardship

An interlock exception order must not be made, except in the case of first offence mid range drink driving, on the basis that the driver:

  1. Cannot afford to install or maintain the device
  2. Will be prevented from driving for work if an interlock is required
  3. Has access to a vehicle but the owner refuses to consent to installation

Those who cannot afford to install or maintain an interlock can apply to the RMS for financial assistance.

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