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  • Writer's pictureCreevey Horrell Lawyers

DRINK DRIVING IN QUEENSLAND: THE EXPANSION OF THE INTERLOCK SYSTEM

New drink driving laws applying to drivers who are convicted of high-risk drink driving offences have now been in effect since September 2021. Offenders are required to have an approved interlock device fitted to any vehicle that they wish to operate.


The new program is expected to capture a significantly larger cohort of offenders than the prior law.


What is an interlock device?

An interlock device is a type of breathalyser which is connected to the vehicle’s ignition. The device requires the driver to provide a sample of breath to start the vehicle.


If the interlock device detects a blood alcohol content of more than zero, the vehicle will not start, irrespective of whether they hold a full licence.


If an individual has an interlock condition on their licence, the individual can only operate a vehicle which has an approved interlock device fitted.


Financial assistance may be available for an individual to have the interlock fitted, serviced or removed. The amount of financial assistance varies depending on the individual’s marital and work status, and how may dependents they have.


Who will be required to participate in the program?

You will be required to participate in the program if you are convicted of any of the following offences:

  • Driving, or attempting to put in motion or be in charge of a vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol;

  • Driving, or attempting to put in motion or be in charge of a vehicle with a blood/breath alcohol concentration of:

    • 0.15 or more; or

    • 0.10 or more (for offences which are committed on or after 10 September 2021);

  • Failing to provide a blood/breath specimen for analysis;

  • Dangerous driving while affected by alcohol; and

  • Being charged with two or more drink driving offences within five years.

These offences are classified as ‘high-risk’ drink driving offences.


What is required of the individual?

From 10 September 2021, individuals who have been convicted of a high-risk drink driving offence will be required to participate in a performance-based interlock program.


The performance-based program requires the individual to participate in an eight-month learning period and four-month performance period, during this time the interlock system is monitored.


If the individual fails to comply with the conditions required during the four-month performance period, the performance period will be restarted. Non-compliance includes:

  • The interlock device detecting a BAC greater than zero; and

  • Missing a scheduled service of your device, causing a lockout.

If the individual does not participate, they will not be permitted to apply for a driver’s licence for five years from the end date of their disqualification, or the date they were issued a work licence.


Exemptions

Exemptions are available to individuals who satisfy the strict criteria. The exemptions may be available to individuals who:

  • Have a medical condition which prevents them from providing sufficient breath to operate the interlock;

  • Lives in a remote location or on an island; and

  • Would experience severe hardship if an exemption is not granted.


Compulsory Drink Driving Education

From 10 September 2021, all individuals convicted of a high-risk offence must complete an online drink driving course before they are eligible to apply for a new driver’s licence. If the offender does not complete the online course, they will not be eligible to apply for a new licence for five years.


If the individual is convicted of two or more drink driving offences, they will be required to complete a repeat drink driving course, which consists of six, two hour in-person sessions.


There are exemptions to the repeat drink driving education course which may be available for a person who:

  • Will experience severe hardship if an exemption is not granted; or

  • Live in a remote location or on an island and cannot complete the course online.

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