What is the NSW Interlock Program all about?

Jul 23 2020

The Interlock Program is a hard-line initiative of the NSW Government to tackle a growing number of drink-drivers.  Aimed at drivers convicted of serious or repeat drink driving offences, it is a breath testing device linked to the ignition system of an offender’s car. Linked to Roads and Maritime who monitor the results, a court sentences a person to use the interlock device for a specified period after their licence disqualification ends (up to four years). For example have your licence disqualified for a period of one year and once you get your licence back, be required to use the interlock device for a further two years.

Drivers must blow into the device and if alcohol is registered their car will not start. Using another person’s car is not allowed unless that too is fitted wtih an interlock device. To avoid tampering  (like getting your friend to blow into it for you), the device is fitted with a camera so don’t risk it! The device can also require a driver to blow into it randomly after the vehicle has started.

Drivers must blow into the device and if alcohol is registered their car will not start.

Frustratingly, the device must be rented and all costs are paid by the driver meaning it isn’t cheap. In NSW there are only a handful of providers of Interlock Devices with some charging up to $300 to install it, $100 to remove it and a yearly rental fee of over $2000. More complex car models can cost more to many people not being able to afford the device at all. There is a financial assistance scheme available for some people such as pensioner and health care card holders, who get up to a 35% reduction in the cost. Those suffering severe financial hardship may receive extra assistance such as a not paying anything, depending on their individual circumstances.

Whilst the court has discretion, the below is periods apply

OffenceMinimum time with interlock device
Low Range (second offence)12 months
Mid Range (second offence)24 months
High Range24 months
High Range (second offence)48 months
DUI (second offence)24 months
Refuse/fail to provide sample24 months
Refuse/fail to provide sample e)48 months

With over 27 years of defending drink driving matters, contact Maspero Legal today on 02 8052 3322 to guide you through the process and help fight for your licence.

Written by Jeremy Maspero