People who drink and drive in Queensland will be subject to tough new drink driving reforms that came into effect on 10 September 2021.
The reforms incorporate two key elements designed to help people separate drinking and driving:
- Expansion and strengthening of the existing Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program
- Education courses for all drink driving offenders.
Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program
- Participants must have an alcohol ignition interlock fitted to any vehicle(s) they drive. This includes work vehicles in cases where a participant has been granted a ‘work licence’. There are no exemptions for employment.
- An interlock is a breath-test device linked to the ignition system of a vehicle that prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver’s blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds zero.
- The cost associated with relicensing and getting an interlock fitted and serviced is, on average, $3,000 for the first 12 months.
- The program has been expanded to include mid-range drink drivers (those with a BAC of 0.10-0.149), in addition to repeat offenders and high risk/high-range (BAC 0.15 and above) drink drivers.
- The program is now performance-based, meaning if a driver fails interlock breath samples or breaches other conditions, such as getting regular interlock services and not tampering with the interlock, their time in the program will be extended.
- The sit-out period (time they are not allowed to drive if they choose not to fit an interlock) increases from 2 years to 5 years.
- All drink drivers who commit and are convicted of a drink driving offence will be required to complete an online early-intervention course – Drive.Survive. Foundations – in order to get relicensed.
- All repeat drink driving offenders will be required to complete a face-to-face, multi-session course – Drive.Survive. Comprehensive – as a condition of completing the Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program.
The reforms are necessary to curb the increasing number of deaths and serious injuries on Queensland roads from crashes involving drink drivers.
Drink driving contributes to more than 20% of lives lost on Queensland roads each year. In 2020, crashes involving drink drivers accounted for 62 deaths and 783 serious injuries requiring hospitalisation, a significant increase from 46 deaths and 633 hospitalisations in 2019.
Posters and screensavers are available for download here if you wish to display them in your venue to warn patrons of these increased penalties. The campaign video can also be viewed on the StreetSmarts Facebook page and accessed via YouTube.
For more information on the interlock program and education courses visit www.qld.gov.au/drinkdriving