Government cracks down on drink driving 

Government cracks down on drink driving 

interlockAlcohol interlock sentences will soon become mandatory for serious and repeat drink-driving offenders says associate transport minister Craig Foss.

People convicted of two or more drink-driving offences within five years and any first time offenders caught driving more than 3.2 times above the legal alcohol limit will be subject to an alcohol interlock sentence.

An alcohol interlock is a breathalyser wired into a vehicle’s starting system. To start the vehicle, the driver must pass a breath test.

“Our road toll is much, much too high. Drink driving causes an average of 77 deaths, 436 serious injuries and 1252 minor injuries on our roads every year,” points out Foss.

“Research shows interlocks reduce reoffending rates by about 60%.” In other countries the figure stands at 35 to 90%.

This follows the Automobile Association’s (AA) years’ long campaign to have interlocks rendered mandatory for high-risk drink drivers.

Currently there are 361 interlocks in New Zealand, and about 10,000 interlock eligible offenders appear in court each year. A combination of issues though has meant that only about 2% of eligible offenders have been sentenced to an interlock, says the AA.

“Interlocks have prevented 4137 drink drive attempts since 2013. That is 100 drink drive attempts prevented each month,” concludes AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

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