Attorney General Michael Mischin introduced into parliament a Bill that will require some drink drivers in Western Australia to have an interlock device fitted to their vehicle. This legislation brings WA in line with other states such as QLD, NSW, VIC, SA and Tasmania. On Tuesday 17 February 2015, the Road Traffic Amendment (Alcohol Interlocks and Other Matters) Bill 2014 was passed by Parliament, and is awaiting assent before it becomes operational. The Bill amends the Road Traffic Act 1974, the Road Traffic (Authorisation to Drive) Act 2008, and the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Act 2012. These amendments will create the framework for people who are convicted of certain drink driving offences to be subject to an alcohol interlock restriction on their licence after they have completed their disqualification period.
Who will have an alcohol interlock restriction?
The requirement to have the alcohol interlock restriction is designed for those whose conviction history indicates they may have difficulty in separating drinking and driving behaviour, and is targeted at repeat offenders, but not limited to them. Those who are convicted of a second drink driving offence within the past 5 years will be required to have an alcohol interlock device fitted to their vehicle at the end of their suspension period before they will be allowed to drive. This requirement will also be mandatory if you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm under the influence of alcohol or drugs; or failing to supply a blood, or breath sample when requested.
How long will the alcohol interlock restriction be imposed?
In most situations the alcohol interlock restriction will be for a period of 6 months. If you are on an extraordinary licence it will be either for 6 months or the remainder of your disqualification period, whichever is the greater. If you were granted an extraordinary licence due to a permanent disqualification you will be required to have an alcohol interlock device fitted to your car for a period of 3 years. If the device records positive readings during this time the court may extend the length of time you are required to have the device fitted to your vehicle. If the data from the alcohol interlock device shows that you cannot separate drinking and driving you may also be referred for a compulsory alcohol assessment and treatment. If you tamper with the device you receive a minimum fine of $400 and a further minimum 9 months disqualification. The court also has the ability to order a term of imprisonment for up to 12 months, or 18 months for subsequent offences.
What does the alcohol interlock restriction mean?
If the courts deem that your offence is one in which you need to have an alcohol interlock restriction on your licence, this means that you won’t be able to drive unless if you have alcohol device fitted to your car. This includes if you have been granted an extraordinary licence. You will need to take your vehicle to an accredited alcohol interlock service provider to have the device fitted, and at regular intervals for the device to be inspected. At the inspections the data that the alcohol interlock has been collecting will be evaluated. Once the device has been fitted you will need to blow into the alcohol interlock every time you want to start your vehicle. If the device detects alcohol on your breath the vehicle will not start. This information is recorded by the device, and reviewed during your routine inspections. Having an alcohol interlock device connected to your vehicle can be expensive, and is borne completely by you. The cost can range from $1600 to $2200 to hire. There may be a $50 per month subsidy if you hold a concession card.