The New South Wales Roads & Ports Minister has announced significant proposed changes to the law regarding drink driving and also demerit point offenders.

For a number of years there has been a voluntary scheme called the “Interlock Program” for drivers who are convicted of the offence of driving with the high range prescribed concentration of alcohol (greater than .015). The “Interlock” is an electronic device connected to the motor vehicle ignition which prevents it from starting if the driver has consumed alcohol. The current legislation allows people in this category to be allowed to reduce the time they are disqualified from holding a driver licence in return for them agreeing to have an interlock device fitted to their vehicle for a period of time. Only 700 participants volunteered for this scheme.

The proposed changes will mean that any drink driver with a reading in the high range, or any drink driver who has committed two drink driving offences within five years, will be required to have an interlock device fitted. It should be noted that there is a cost involved with the fitting of interlock and it also can cause difficulties for people who drive a number of different vehicles.

The Government also proposes to require drink drivers who are convicted of a second offence within five years to pass a driving knowledge test when they re-apply for their driver licence and similarly, drivers who exceed their demerit point limit (currently 13 points for most drivers) twice within five years, to be required to both re-sit their driver knowledge test and also complete a driver education course before being allowed to resume driving after suspension of their driving licences.

There has been no start date announced for this legislation as yet. For information regarding traffic law and driving offences generally please contact either Geoff Lloyd or Lance Watson of our Camden office or Jilliane Duve of our Narellan office.