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When does the program apply?

Part 3B of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 regulates the Queensland Alcohol Ignition Interlock program. The aim of the program is road safety by having zero tolerance for drinking and driving. If you are convicted of a high-risk drink driving offence the program may apply to you.

If you have been convicted of one of the following:

  • Driving with a Blood Alcohol reading of 0.15 or higher.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol, or
  • Refusing to provide a breath/blood specimen, or
  • Dangerous driving whilst affected by alcohol, or
  • Having any two or more drink driving offences in a five-year period

How does the interlock device work?

An alcohol ignition interlock is a device connected to a vehicle’s ignition. The driver needs to give a breath sample before starting the vehicle. The driver must have a zero blood alcohol reading, before the vehicle’s ignition will turn on, and at any time during the drive.  You have to provide random breath tests during the drive.

The system is designed in such a way that the interlock cannot be bypassed. You cannot get your friend to perform the breath test and start the vehicle for you to drive. Other people can drive the vehicle, but they will also have to record a zero reading before and during the journey.

Can two interlock drivers use the same vehicle?

This is possible, provided that you comply with certain requirements. Firstly, to complete the program you must hold a valid driver licence with an 'I' condition (for 'interlock') on it.

To share the same vehicle, you will each have to:

  • Provide details of the vehicle to the interlock supplier
  • Complete an “Apply/Remove Vehicle Nomination Form (F4841) and give it to the supplier
  • Ensure that your installed interlock device can, in fact, differentiate between the two interlock drivers- individual pin codes can be programmed

Take note: if your device cannot differentiate between two interlock drivers, then both of you will have to complete an “interlock driver record” when you drive the vehicle.

How long do you have to drive with the interlock fitted to your car?

The maximum period you have to be on the interlock program is 2 years after your drink driving disqualification period ends. You have to have an interlock fitted for a minimum period of 12 months. The 12 months start when your drink driving disqualification period ends.

You may be able to leave the program after twelve months if

  • You hold a valid Queensland driver’s licence with an ‘I’ on it.
  • You have an approved interlock device fitted to your vehicle.

If you choose not to have the device fitted, you will not be able to drive legally for 2 years after your disqualification period ended.

Who pays the cost of the interlock program?

You are responsible to pay for all costs relating to the program, eg the cost of the new ‘I” licence and all costs relating to the installation and removal of the ignition interlock device.

You may qualify for a discount if you hold a valid Health Care Card, issued by the Australian Government. You may also apply to the Department of Transport and Main Roads for financial assistance. You will only be considered if you haven’t received financial assistance for the interlock program in the past 5 years. In considering your application your financial status will be evaluated.

Can you be exempted from the program?

In very limited circumstances, you may be exempted from the program. These circumstances include certain medical conditions, or living in a very remote area. If you think it might be applicable to you, speak to your lawyer.

Take note: If you have an exemption, you must notify the Department of any change in your personal circumstances that may be relevant to the exemption within 14 days of the change.  Failure to do so will result in a penalty.

Penalties for not following the rules

Not following the rules may have serious consequences and harsh penalties.

Any of the following will result in serious penalties:

  • Not obtaining a driver's licence after your disqualification period ends and driving without a licence – a fine of $4000 may be imposed, plus a further disqualification period of 6 months.
  • Failing to produce the exemption certificate when requested by a police officer – a maximum fine of $2800 can be imposed.
  • Failing to obey any restriction stated on the exemption certificate at any time, or
  • Driving a different vehicle than the one you selected on the Apply/Remove Vehicle Nomination Form - a maximum fine of $2800 may be imposed. You may also be disqualified from holding a licence and will have to start the interlock program again.

At the end of the program, you will have to go to the Department of Transport and Main Roads to have the “I” removed from your licence.

If you are charged with a breach of the interlock program, get legal advice.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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