On 6 August 2010, alcohol interlock law came into effect in Queensland under the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995.
An Alcohol ignition interlock is a device, when fitted to a vehicle, prevents the vehicle from starting unless the device is provided with a specimen of a person’s breath containing either no alcohol or less than a particular concentration.
The legislation requires drivers who commit and are convicted of a high-risk drink driving offence to fulfil the following requirements after the period of their licence disqualification ends:
- Obtain a licence with an Interlock condition
- Nominate a vehicle to the Department of Transport and Main Roads
- The person may, under section 91L(b) nominate more than 1 vehicle
- Have the nominated vehicle fitted with an approved interlock
If the person fails to comply with the above condition they will be ineligible to drive for 2 years from the end of their disqualification period.
Drink driving offences as defined under the Act that are subject to the interlock period:
- An offence from which the driver was disqualified from holding or obtaining a QLD driver licence for a particular period
- An offence involving a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor
- An offence involving a motor vehicle, in relation to failing to provide
- A specimen of breath for analysis
- A specimen of blood for a laboratory test for the purpose of determining the concentration of alcohol in the person’s blood
- An offence under the Criminal Code 1899 involving a vehicle when accompanied by the circumstance of aggravation when the offender was adversely affected by alcohol
- An offence against section 91X (1) failing to comply with restrictions of an interlock exemption
- An offence against section 91W (1) driving a vehicle other than that allowed under interlock condition
- An offence involving a vehicle and committed within 5 years after the offender was previously convicted of
- An offence against provisions 79(2), (2A), (2B), (2J), (2K), (2L)
- Any offence mentioned above
The interlock period starts when the person’s disqualification period ends.
Drivers who have fulfilled the above conditions are required, under the act, to drive without any alcohol in their systems for the prescribed period of 12 months before they will be eligible to have the interlock ignition device removed. This device will need to be installed at their own expense.
A person may apply to the Chief Executive for an interlock exemption with restrictions. For an interlock exemption to be granted the Chief Executive must be satisfied:
- That the shortest reasonable distance, using a vehicle, between the applicant’s residence and nearest place of business is greater than the distance or time prescribed under a regulation
- Evidence by a doctor’s certificate the person has a medical condition preventing the applicant from providing a sufficient breath sample for the device to operate
- Or any other matter
If the Chief Executive does not decide the application within the prescribed 28-day period, it is taken to have made a decision (a deemed decision) refusing the exemption. If the exemption is granted the Chief Executive must provide a written notice and a certificate.
A person’s interlock exemption stops having effect when:
- The expiry date on the exemption certificate
- 14 days elapse after the person gives the Chief Executive a notice of change of circumstances
- The exemption is cancelled
- The interlock period ends
Extending Interlock Driver’s prescribed period
Grounds for extending the prescribed period for interlock:
- The person drove a nominated vehicle without first providing the interlock with a specimen
- The person drove a nominated vehicle when the person knew, or ought to have known the interlock was not operating correctly
- The person drove a nominated vehicle when the person knew, or ought to have known the interlock had been interfered with
- Driving a vehicle other than as allowed under an interlock condition;
- Noncompliance with restrictions applying to interlock exemption;
- Maximum Penalty (for both offences):
- First offence: 28 penalty units and disqualification of 3 months;
- Conviction within 5 years after previous conviction: 60 penalty units and disqualification for 6 months;
- Person with an interlock exemption must give notification of change of circumstances:
- Within 14 days of the change of circumstance;
- Maximum Penalty: 28 penalty units.