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Here come the alcohol interlocks

johnboy 9 May 2013 24

Simon Corbell is legislating again this time to create a cottage industry of cars held in family members names by recidivist drink drivers:

Repeat and high range drink drivers will have interlock systems fitted to their vehicles, stopping them from getting behind the wheel when drunk, thanks to measures undertaken by ACT Attorney-General, Simon Corbell, today.

The Bill, introduced to the ACT Legislative Assembly, outlines the proposal for an Alcohol Interlock Scheme in the ACT and will be mandatory for high risk offenders.

“These are repeat or high range drink driving offenders, drivers whose records show that they have an inability to separate their drinking and driving behaviours without assistance,” Mr Corbell said.

“The new interlock program will build on other significant reforms to the ACT’s drink driving laws in recent years including mandatory alcohol awareness courses, zero alcohol concentration limits for a wider range of licence categories, immediate licence suspensions for drivers who exceed the prescribed alcohol limit by 0.05g or more, and reduced availability of restricted licences for drink driving offenders.”

“Drivers who are convicted or found guilty of a drink driving offence may volunteer to participate in the scheme; the costs of which will be borne by the driver.


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24 Responses to Here come the alcohol interlocks
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Henry82 Henry82 5:40 pm 09 May 13

devils_advocate said :

I sometimes wish I had an alcohol interlock on my car.

They’re over 2k fitted. Our work breathalyser (Same model i saw on the cop show highway patrol last) was $1800, and you get the portability etc.

KeenGolfer KeenGolfer 4:55 pm 09 May 13

Erg0 said :

dungfungus said :

Erg0 said :

A number of people seem to have missed the fact that this is a voluntary program…

Voluntary when sober but when you are pissed, well that’s a different story.

Um… voluntary to get it fitted in the first place. Read the last sentence of the article.

Maybe you should read the entire release. It is “mandatory for high risk offenders” such as repeat offenders or those that blow .15 or more.

pink little birdie pink little birdie 4:54 pm 09 May 13

Erg0 said :

dungfungus said :

Erg0 said :

A number of people seem to have missed the fact that this is a voluntary program…

Voluntary when sober but when you are pissed, well that’s a different story.

Um… voluntary to get it fitted in the first place. Read the last sentence of the article.

I read it as if you caught now with high range Drink driving or are a repeat offender it’s manadatory if you have a conviction for low level drink driving previously it volunatry

“The Bill, introduced to the ACT Legislative Assembly, outlines the proposal for an Alcohol Interlock Scheme in the ACT and will be mandatory for high risk offenders.

“These are repeat or high range drink driving offenders, drivers whose records show that they have an inability to separate their drinking and driving behaviours without assistance,” Mr Corbell said”

Erg0 Erg0 4:13 pm 09 May 13

dungfungus said :

Erg0 said :

A number of people seem to have missed the fact that this is a voluntary program…

Voluntary when sober but when you are pissed, well that’s a different story.

Um… voluntary to get it fitted in the first place. Read the last sentence of the article.

Solidarity Solidarity 4:05 pm 09 May 13

What’s the point? If you can’t be trusted to drive under the limit, you shouldn’t have your license… isn’t that why licenses are taken away in the first place?

harvyk1 harvyk1 3:21 pm 09 May 13

devils_advocate said :

I sometimes wish I had an alcohol interlock on my car. This is because the guidance on how many standard drinks a man can have (3 in first hour, 1 each hour to keep you there) can be highly variable in application and often it’s hard to count drinks – say a pint of slightly-stronger-than-usual beer might actually put you over the limit.

I’m pretty risk-averse and never drive if there’s even a small chance I think I’m over but would like some more assurance. The reason is, the commonly available breathalysers on the market aren’t of a sufficient level of precision to be relied upon as a guide to whether you’re ok to drink or not.

Presumably the alcohol interlocks are sufficiently precise to be a determinant of whether someone can drive or not.

I don’t know if they’ll ruin the look of my luxuriously appointed leather interior. But it would also presumably stop someone else driving my car drunk.

I kinda have to agree here. I follow the standard drinks thing (again knowing that they are highly variable), and even after a single light beer I have in the back of my mind “what if?”

By having the alcohol interlocks fitted as standard would mean that the person who is worried they may be a little bit over can check against something meaningful. Of course the person who drives drunk and doesn’t care would always find loopholes.

dungfungus dungfungus 3:11 pm 09 May 13

Erg0 said :

A number of people seem to have missed the fact that this is a voluntary program…

Voluntary when sober but when you are pissed, well that’s a different story.

James_Ryan James_Ryan 2:26 pm 09 May 13

The interlock programme as proposed will be a physical barrier to driving under the influence of alcohol for as long as the interlock device is fitted to the car. Some interlock devices record a breath signature so that the programme participant can’t get someone else to do the testing to start the car or to continue driving whilst on the road.

As I understand things, the proposed approach is pretty standard in Australia and therefore what we can expect is for the programme to reduce recidivist drink driving amongst programme participants whilst they remain in the programme. If their time with an interlock is 3 months or 6 months, then that’s the road safety benefit that the community can expect from each participant.

What the programme won’t do is to have an ongoing benefit, in that interlock programmes structured this way won’t affect the drink driving behaviour of participants into the future.

The best programmes worldwide use devices that store data from each sample provided, and that data is downloaded and used to inform regular counselling between programme participant and alcohol counsellor. Patterns are then established and used to raise awareness of the participant’s drinking and how that impacts upon their BAC at the times of day that they’re wanting to use their car.

Interlock programmes that access and analyse the data generally find that most of the failed ignition attempts occur in the morning as people try to drive to work. On the basis that people probably think they’re right to drive to work at 8am after drinking the night before, it’s reasonable then to presume that programme participants (people likely to be alcohol dependent) drink more than they think, and remain affected longer than they think.

To change the drink driving behaviour of people into the future (ie when the device is gone and doesn’t stop them from starting their car), best practice interlock programmes use time in the programme to educate participants about their drinking patterns, the affect on the BAC content at different times, and what that means at the times they’re wanting to use their cars.

If I understood the Minister correctly on the radio this morning, he’s looking to allow people to get short term reductions from licence suspension by accessing the Interlock programme. Although it’s probably a tad counter-intuitative, best practice programmes try to get participants back behind the wheel quickly, rather than after a lengthy period of suspension. Not only are people more likely to participate, but you have them in the programme for longer in order for the intervention to work (ie to actually alter their behaviour in the long term).

This stuff is easily available and best practice approaches to interlock programmes is well recognised. The Minister would have had this advice and chosen to ignore best practice.

460cixy 460cixy 2:15 pm 09 May 13

There crap. a customer had one in his car I needed to road test the car but no way was I putting my mouth on the nozzle. So I used the air blower to trick it in to think I was blowing in to it and bingo I was away car was nsw rego so I guess there been doing it for a while it was a good 12 months ago

carnardly carnardly 1:52 pm 09 May 13

what about 2 strikes and you’re out – not negotiable.

pink little birdie pink little birdie 1:51 pm 09 May 13

James_Ryan said :

What a shame that the government has gone for this model of interlock programme, instead of following best practice programmes that have demonstrated the capacity to effect behaviour (that is, to reduce recidivist drink driving) after the interlock device has been removed.

Pretty sure you need the interlock program first. Then stepping them off it…

poetix poetix 12:50 pm 09 May 13

As long as bicycles are exempt, this is a good thing.

Deref Deref 12:21 pm 09 May 13

peitab said :

As a whole, it would appear that interlocks allow for mutliple ways to bypass them or make them redundant. I wonder how effective they’ve been in other jurisdictions?

That.

Some hard data on their effectiveness, please, not just motherhood statements.

devils_advocate devils_advocate 12:18 pm 09 May 13

I sometimes wish I had an alcohol interlock on my car. This is because the guidance on how many standard drinks a man can have (3 in first hour, 1 each hour to keep you there) can be highly variable in application and often it’s hard to count drinks – say a pint of slightly-stronger-than-usual beer might actually put you over the limit.

I’m pretty risk-averse and never drive if there’s even a small chance I think I’m over but would like some more assurance. The reason is, the commonly available breathalysers on the market aren’t of a sufficient level of precision to be relied upon as a guide to whether you’re ok to drink or not.

Presumably the alcohol interlocks are sufficiently precise to be a determinant of whether someone can drive or not.

I don’t know if they’ll ruin the look of my luxuriously appointed leather interior. But it would also presumably stop someone else driving my car drunk.

Erg0 Erg0 12:13 pm 09 May 13

A number of people seem to have missed the fact that this is a voluntary program…

peitab peitab 11:37 am 09 May 13

James_Ryan said :

What a shame that the government has gone for this model of interlock programme, instead of following best practice programmes that have demonstrated the capacity to effect behaviour (that is, to reduce recidivist drink driving) after the interlock device has been removed.

What do the best practice programs involve, and how do they differ from this style of program?

As a whole, it would appear that interlocks allow for mutliple ways to bypass them or make them redundant. I wonder how effective they’ve been in other jurisdictions?

dungfungus dungfungus 10:39 am 09 May 13

Pork Hunt said :

What’s to stop the piss pots from simply buying another car sans interlock?

Or getting a non-drinking passenger to breath into it; even carry a bottle of compressed air?

vulpior vulpior 10:32 am 09 May 13

Dilandach said :

Easy, First time fine, second time license suspension, third time whatever car / vehicle inpounded, forth time car / vehicle crushed regardless of who owns it, fifth time 1 month jail, sixth time 6 months jail and up from there.

Only a court appearance to confirm the penalty being applied, no plea bargain or good behaviour bond.

I’m with this kind of penalty escalation. I was caught low-range in NSW some years ago, and went through the diversion course, gaining character references, etc, in order to (successfully) avoid having a conviction recorded. Having a conviction recorded would have been a mandatory license suspension; no option for just a fine.

The experience was a wake-up call for me to be far more careful with drinking and later driving, and with driving in general. I knew that any further offence within the year I was on a bond would have resulted in definite license suspension, and the habits from that year stayed with me.

A first penalty that doesn’t involve suspension, at least for lower range offences, would be enough of a kick for many to modify their behaviour. For those who didn’t, definitely throw the book/car crusher at them.

caf caf 10:30 am 09 May 13

…to create a cottage industry of cars held in family members names by recidivist drink drivers:

This assumes that family members are happy to be complicit in the offender’s drink-driving, which might be true in some cases but certainly isn’t in all.

I think the last paragraph is the most interesting. If they expect some number of drink-drivers to volunteer for the scheme, then that implies that for those people at least the problem is poor impulse control when actually drunk, rather than a permanent scofflaw attitude to the drink-driving laws even when sober. At any rate, if someone is volunteering to take part then they’re not likely to make sober arrangements to circumvent the program – they could just withdraw from it.

It’s obviously not a silver bullet, but silver bullets seldom exist. That doesn’t mean we should let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Ben_Dover Ben_Dover 10:17 am 09 May 13

Repeat and high range drink drivers will have interlock systems fitted to their vehicles, stopping them from getting behind the wheel when drunk, thanks to measures undertaken by ACT Attorney-General, Simon Corbell, today.

“Of course,” replied anyone with a functioning synapse, “this will not stop them getting behind the wheel of any other car, and is a complete waste of time money and effort.”

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