Tough new laws planned for .05 drivers

BALLARAT drink drivers beware: you’re not just facing loss of licence, but also a pretty severe hit to the back pocket as well.

The Victorian state government is planning to introduce tough new laws for drink drivers, with all offenders blowing more than .05 forced to fit interlock devices to their cars.

Currently, only drivers who reoffend, blow over .15 or register a reading above .07 while under the age of 26 must install an interlock. An interlock prevents a car’s engine from starting until the driver blows a zero alcohol reading. 

But it’s not just the inconvenience factor police hope will deter drivers from getting behind the wheel after a big night out. 

Senior Sergeant Pat Cleary from Ballarat Highway Patrol believed the high cost of installing an interlock, which is borne completely by the offender, would also have drivers thinking twice.

“We find the interlock devices is an excellent deterrent. The monetary costs are extreme,” Senior Sergeant Cleary said.

“Any piece of legislation that will act as a deterrent to drink drivers we would have to support. And in terms of the interlock itself, that further deterrent will be the extensive cost. Certainly to most the financial deterrent is a striking consequence.”

So just how much does an interlock cost? One local interlock supplier contacted by The Courier put the price of installing an interlock at $170, followed by a $130 per month servicing fee.

Depending on the offence, cars can be fitted with interlocks for between six months and four years. Per year, drink drivers would be looking at fees in excess of $1500.

But the costs don’t stop there. Drivers who blow into the interlock while under the influence of alcohol must pay $65 to have the device unlocked, while it costs $99 to get the device removed. Hardship provisions do exist for those on concessions such as Centrelink.