The Victorian Alcohol Interlock Program has expanded with alcohol interlocks mandatory for more drink-driving offences.
The new laws from 1 October 2014 mean that more licence and learner permit cancellations will apply for a broader range of drink-driving blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels. The key changes are:
More drink-driving offences have a mandatory alcohol interlock licence condition
Any driver or motorcycle rider whose licence and/or learner permit is cancelled due to a drink-driving offence, committed on or after 1 October 2014, will be required to install an alcohol interlock in any vehicle they drive or ride as a condition of re licensing.
The length of time drivers will be required to have an alcohol interlock installed ranges from at least six months, for a first offence, up to four years or more for serious and repeat offences.
Prior to 1 October 2014, the laws for alcohol interlocks target offenders with a BAC of 0.15 or more, most repeat drink-drivers and young drivers with a BAC of 0.07 or more.
For offences committed on or after 1 October, alcohol interlocks will be mandatory for the following new groups of drink-drivers:
- Every first offender who has a probationary licence or learner permit (at any BAC level)
- Other drivers who have a BAC of 0.07 to 0.15
- Drivers with a BAC under 0.07 whose licences are cancelled, including professional drivers of buses, taxis and vehicles over 15 tonnes
- All repeat offenders with a BAC reading under 0.07
- First serious alcohol-related offences under the Sentencing Act 1991, such as culpable driving involving alcohol
From 1 October 2014, any learner permit and/or probationary licence holders with a first BAC offence between zero and less than 0.05 will have a 3 month cancellation and an alcohol interlock condition of at least 6 months. Prior to 1 October 2014 this was a 10 demerit point offence.
VicRoads managed drivers in the alcohol interlock program – not all go to court
For offences committed on or after 1 October 2014, new laws enable VicRoads to manage the alcohol interlock requirements for first time drink-driving offences with a BAC below 0.10, where the licence/learner permit is cancelled. Drivers apply directly to VicRoads to get their licences back following completion of their licence cancellation period. VicRoads managed offences have a minimum alcohol interlock period of 6 months.
The Magistrates’ Court will continue to manage repeat drink-drivers and drink-drivers with a BAC of 0.10 or more. Courts will also manage more serious and complex drink-driving cases.
Strict rules now apply to be removed from the Victorian Alcohol Interlock Program
From 1st October 2014, people who commit drink-driving offences resulting in their licence/learner permit cancellation will have strict alcohol interlock removal conditions that must be complied with to be eligible to exit the alcohol interlock program. If they do not follow these rules, the removal of their alcohol interlock licence condition will be delayed.
Alcohol interlocks with cameras will be introduced from 30 January 2015
Alcohol interlocks with cameras take a number of pictures during each trip, for example when a breath test is recorded to start the car or when a breath test is requested during a trip. These pictures provide a record of who is driving the vehicle. Any approved alcohol interlock fitted prior to the introduction of cameras on 30 January 2015 does not have to be changed or upgraded to fit a camera.