Monday, February 25, 2013

Motoring Drink Driving Alcohol-interlock devices on cars of all drink drivers Victoria Herald Sun

Toughest clamp on drink-drivers since booze bus



Drink drivers will have to install alcohol interlock devices under a bold approach to make Melbourne roads the safest in Australia
EXCLUSIVE: A PLAN to install alcohol-interlock devices on the cars of all drink-drivers in Victoria will save lives, the Police Minister says.
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All drink-drivers will be ordered to fit interlock devices to their cars at their own cost under a radical reform of Victoria's road laws.
The crackdown will catch about 17,000 motorists a year who blow .05 or over.
The interlocks prevent a car engine from starting if the driver has been drinking.
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Police Minister Peter Ryan said the tough reform followed a government road-safety survey, published in the Herald Sun, in which 83 per cent of respondents favoured an increase in the use of interlocks.
Interlock device
Work has started on drafting legislation that will see all drink-drivers ordered to fit interlock devices to their cars.
The result convinced the State Government it had overwhelming public support to significantly toughen drink-driving laws.
"The user-pays system ensures there's a powerful financial deterrent to drink-driving," Mr Ryan said.
He said drink-driving caused 25 to 30 per cent of deaths on the state's roads.
"This will also bring about a strong cultural change and it will save lives," Mr Ryan told Fairfax Radio today.
"People get killed on our roads not because of accidents - it happens because people make poor choices and the issue here is do not drink and drive."
The law will apply to all drink-drivers, unless they are able to convince a court "exceptional circumstances" exist in their case.
Interlocks protect not only the community and would-be drink-drivers, but the drink-drivers from themselves
Work has already started on drafting the legislation and the Government will enact it as soon as possible.
"Some may argue these are harsh penalties for drink-drivers," Mr Ryan said.
"But people should remember interlocks aim to stop more families from suffering the pain of losing loved ones. Interlocks protect not only the community and would-be drink-drivers, but the drink-drivers from themselves."
Currently, only repeat offenders, drivers who blow more than .15, and those aged under 26 who blow .07 or more have interlocks fitted.
The duration ranges from six months to four years depending on the blood alcohol reading and on whether the driver is a repeat offender.
Using an interlock for six months costs about $1049, and for four years, $6509.
Failed attempts to drive a car with an interlock device fitted to it are recorded.
Mr Ryan said drink-driving accounted for 25-30 per cent of deaths and 11 per cent of serious injuries on the state's roads, and about 30 per cent of drink-drivers offend again.
''Alcohol interlocks prevent the car starting if the driver has been drinking. Attempts to use the car after consuming alcohol are recorded and can count against the driver when the driver applies to a magistrate to have the device removed from the car,'' he said.
''Each year about 6500 drivers commit an offence that carries a mandatory interlock requirement. Interlocks ensure their drinking and driving are kept absolutely separate.
''Extending the interlock program to all offenders would increase this to about 17,000.
It is something that we truly feel will be a deterrent to drink driving and would certainly keep the community safer
''We're taking the groundbreaking step of providing the laws to ensure that every convicted drink driver has to install one as part of their rehabilitation.
''Some 30 per cent of first offenders continue to drink and drive and become repeat offenders.''
Road Trauma Victoria spokeswoman Margaret Markovic today welcomed news that all drink-drivers will be ordered to fit alcohol interlock devices.
Ms Markovic, whose son Daniel was killed by a drunk driver in 2004, said the organisation had been pushing for greater use of interlock devices fo years.
"It is something that we truly feel will be a deterrent to drink driving and would certainly keep the community safer,'' she said.
"Given the road toll and the record number people still being pulled over who are driving drunk, the change to the law is welcome and needed .
"Even if it is a first offence and the blood alcohol reading is at the low end, I feel it is important for those drivers to have to have an interlock device fitted.
"Maybe doing so will get the message across to more people that the drink-drive laws need to be taken seriously.
"And to those civil libertarians who are saying this crackdown is too tough, I say they should try walking in the shoes of people like me who have lost a loved one as a result of drink drivers.''
Mr Ryan said the only people who could escape the new law would be drivers who were able to convince a court there were ''exceptional circumstances'' which warranted it not being applied to them.
He said the current periods for disqualification from driving and length of time interlocks and other sanctions applied for the various blood alcohol levels for first and repeat offenders would be reviewed to ensure they provided effective deterrence and rehabilitation opportunities.
Mr Ryan hopes the cost of the interlock, on top of the fine for drink driving, which ranges from $423 for a .05 to .07 offence to many thousands of dollars for more serious offences, will deter drivers from drinking.
''The new laws will mean any driver caught with a blood alcohol content over the legal limit will be required to have an alcohol interlock fitted to their vehicle before they return to driving, except in exceptional circumstances determined by the courts,'' he said.
''The Victorian Coalition Government believes this initiative will save lives.''
Herald Sun readers have been largely in favour of the move, calling for interlocks to be a standard feature on all cars.
“They should come standard across all new car fleets. With recalibration of them being included in the servicing of the car,” Tomas Tabor said on the Herald Sun Facebook page.
“Put interlocks on all cars, then we wouldn't have drink drivers, surely the money we spend on marketing/campaigns/booze buses could pay for interlock devices on all motor vehicles. Over .05 and it won’t start!” Cassie of Derrimut said.
“If it will save lives, I am all for it! Prevention is the cure!” Nina Gin said.
While others have made suggestions on how to make the idea more secure and also poked holes in how the plan could come unstuck.

“It should have a DNA tester in it as well to stop someone else starting the car for a drunk person,” Dean of ACT said on
“Maybe it should be subsidized and put into cars registered to P-Platers in order to prevent drink driving related accidents,” Hassan Fahd said.
“Charging $1000 - $6000 for rental might be a good deterrent then. DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE. Simple.” Leanne Rowen said.
“So what stops them from driving another car?” Julie Dib said.
- with Brendan Casey and AAP

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