AA says repeat offenders need alcohol interlocks

AA says repeat offenders need alcohol interlocks

breathalyser-alcosense-fr9000-interlock-photo-1While it supports the reduction in the legal blood alcohol limits for adults, the Automobile Association says stopping drink driving crashes will take more than just that.

The adult (20 and older) limit will lower to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (.05) on December 1.

The AA says a lot of drink drivers are people with serious alcohol issues who aren’t in control of their drinking. It wants to see alcohol interlocks fitted to the vehicles of all repeat drink drivers or those caught at twice the criminal limit.

“Taking away their driving licence is not effective enough at keeping these people off the road and putting innocent lives at risk,” says AA Motoring Affairs general manager Mike Noon.

Alcohol interlocks are devices similar to breathalysers which drivers have to use before and during a drive. They became a sentencing option in New Zealand in 2012 but, out of 11,692 eligible offenders that appeared before the courts in their first year, just 228 received an interlock licence.

The AA says the revenue from the fines from drivers caught at alcohol levels between .05 to .08 under the new limit should also be used to fund more interlocks for the highest risk offenders.

“High risk drink drivers should have alcohol interlocks fitted to their vehicles. These only allow a person who is 100% sober to use the car,” says Noon.

“The courts also need to do much more assessment of drink drivers for alcohol problems so that people with issues can have treatment combined with their sentence.

“More alcohol interlocks in drink drivers’ vehicles and treatment will do more to prevent crashes than the lower limit.

“Despite the small number of interlocks in use in New Zealand there were nearly 1000 occasions in the programme’s first year when the device wouldn’t let a vehicle start because someone with alcohol in their system tried to use the car.

“If we are serious about saving lives we need to have thousands of these in vehicles rather than a couple of hundred,” notes Noon.

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