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Here come the alcohol interlocks

By 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
carnardly 1:52 pm 09 May 13

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

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 12:50 pm 09 May 13

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

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 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 12:13 pm 09 May 13

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

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 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 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 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 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.”

Pork Hunt 10:16 am 09 May 13

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

bundah 10:08 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.

I suppose the problem is that it’d cost money to do it properly, and our fearless leaders would rather take the kudos for doing ‘something’ rather than doing ‘the best thing’.

Well they will need as much money as they can possibly get to fund the light rail proposal so while it’s not going to solve the DUI problem at least it’s going to make it much more difficult for recidivist drink-drivers and that’s a good thing.

Dilandach 9:57 am 09 May 13

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.

James_Ryan 9:51 am 09 May 13

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.

I suppose the problem is that it’d cost money to do it properly, and our fearless leaders would rather take the kudos for doing ‘something’ rather than doing ‘the best thing’.

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