Alcohol Interlock Scheme (AIS)

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Affecting all WA drivers (Perth and WA regional) as of October 24, 2016

WHAT IS THE WA ALCOHOL INTERLOCK SCHEME (AIS)?

Drink driving is a factor in around one in five fatal crashes in WA, and one in ten serious injury crashes, costing the community an excess of over $460 million each year.

Due to these exorbitant figures, a mandatory performance-based Alcohol Interlock Scheme (AIS) targeting alcohol offenders is being introduced in Western Australia (WA) on 24 October 2016.  The primary purpose of the AIS is to reduce the road safety risk posed by drink drivers to themselves and other road users. It is expected that between 4,000 and 6,000 alcohol offenders will be required to enter the WA AIS each year.

This State wide scheme will be administered by the Department of Transport with support from the Mental Health Commission, WA Police, the Department of the Attorney General and the Road Safety Commission. With the effectiveness and operation of this scheme to be reviewed five years after implementation.

WHAT IS AN ALCOHOL INTERLOCK?

Alcohol interlocks are breath testing devices that are installed into the ignition system of passenger vehicles, motorcycles and heavy vehicles. Under the Alcohol Interlock Law WA, a vehicle with an approved lock installed will not start unless the driver passes a breath test. The driver must provide a breath sample with a BAC of less than 0.02% before the vehicle will start. Randomly timed breath tests must also be provided and passed during any journey. Alcohol locks also record breath alcohol readings and have data downloaded from them, that can be used to report and monitor drink driving behaviour (as well as any attempt to circumvent or tamper with them). Alcohol interlocks have been available for over 30 years but as of October 24, 2016, this functionality will be considered law in Perth and will be applied to interlocks approved under the Alcohol Interlock Scheme WA.

WHO WILL THE ALCOHOL INTERLAW SCHEME WA EFFECT?

Interlock devices used under the Alcohol Interlock Scheme WA, will be issued to anyone found guilty of certain prescribed serious offences under the Road Traffic Act 1974. Persons who apply for the grant of a Western Australian driver’s licence, while holding a driver’s licence issued by another jurisdiction subject to an ‘I’ condition, will also be required to participate in the new Alcohol Interlock Law WA.

WHAT IS AN ALCOHOL INTERLOCK CONDITION OR AN ‘I’ CONDITION?

A person who holds a licence and is subject to an alcohol interlock condition, is known as an interlock restricted driver. Once the Alcohol Interlock Scheme WA is introduced, any authorisation to drive issued to an alcohol offender will be endorsed with an alcohol interlock or ‘I’ condition.

ARE ALCOHOL INTERLOCKS ACCURATE?

Alcohol locks are an accurate and reliable measure of breath alcohol content. Interlocks used today are highly sophisticated and make circumvention reliably detectable and extremely difficult. Regular servicing of interlocks, by an accredited service provider, ensures the device is functioning correctly. Interlocks approved for use under the Alcohol Interlock Scheme in Perth and regional WA will feature physical and functionality elements, preventing the device from being bypassed.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO BYPASS AN ALCOHOL INTERLOCK?

Interlock systems used under the Alcohol Interlock Law WA, will be required to contain security seals, which ensure the detection of any unauthorised removing or opening of the interlock device. Once broken, the seals cannot be reinstated.