Interlock Devices in Victoria
An interlock device is an electronic system that can be installed in a vehicle to prevent the vehicle from starting if the driver has alcohol in their breath. The device is installed in the vehicle of a person who has had an interlock condition imposed on their licence by a court. The device can be fitted in a car, motorcycle or truck. An interlock device requires the driver to pass a breath test before the engine will operate. An alcohol interlock condition may be mandatory or discretionary depending on the offence a person has been found guilty of. The period the device is installed for also depends on the offences involved.
Installation of device
The driver is responsible for the installation, leasing, servicing and removal of the interlock device. The interlock device must be installed by an approved supplier. The driver must bear the costs of having the device installed and removed.
Conditions of interlock licence
An interlock device condition (known as an ‘I’ Condition) applies once a person’s licence disqualification period has elapsed, and they are issued with a driver’s licence again. A condition is placed on the person’s driver’s licence requiring them to only drive vehicles that have an interlock device installed.
If a person works in an occupation that involves driving vehicles, they must make other arrangements during the period they are subject to the condition. For example, if you work as a mechanic and are required to ‘test drive’ vehicles, you must have another employee test drive vehicles while the interlock condition is in place.
Other requirements of holding a driver’s licence with the interlock condition in Victoria include:
- The person must drive the vehicle installed with the interlock device at least twice per month.
- If the driver does not drive at all for the six-month period, the period will then recommence and will be completed only when the driver has driven at least twice per months throughout a five month period.
- The person must not tamper with the device. This includes instructing another person to blow into the device.
- For the interlock device to be removed, the person must have at least five months of recordings free of alcohol. This must be all of their most recent five months of driving. For example, if a person was sentenced to have an interlock device installed for 12 months, the records from the last five months must hold no readings of alcohol in the breath.
Reading must be zero
Some interlock devices will operate if the BAC level is below 0.02. However, it is a condition of an interlock requirement that the driver records a BAC level of zero. The reading received will be recorded in the assessment report. Therefore, even if a vehicle’s engine operates with a reading of 0.01 or 0.02, the driver must ensure they do not drive unless the reading is zero. They may be charged with the offence of breaching a condition of the interlock program if they drive with a positive reading.
Removal of an Interlock Device
An Interlock condition remains in place until the court removes it from a person’s licence.
When a person wants to remove an Interlock Condition from their licence, they can apply directly to VicRoads. The person must show that they have complied with the conditions of the interlock program.
Since 30 January 2015, interlock devices have been fitted with a camera. The camera captures the image of whoever is blowing the device at the time of driving the vehicle, and at random times while the engine is on. The images may be reviewed by VicRoads to determine if an Interlock condition should be removed.
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