DEATHS caused by drink drivers should drop if Tasmania has the same success with its alcohol interlock program as elsewhere in Australia.
Expected to start in June, alcohol interlocks will be used in Tasmania to immobilise cars driven by
repeat drink-drivers and extreme offenders, until they have given a breath sample below a specified limit.
Under the program, repeat drink-drivers, or any first-time offenders with a blood alcohol reading of
0.15 or higher, will only be re-licensed if they fit an approved interlock to any vehicle they drive.
An alcohol interlock is a device fitted to a car to prevent it starting if the driver has been drinking.
The interlock is fitted to the car’s ignition and measures the driver’s breath for alcohol.
Infrastructure Minister David O’Bryne said when announcing the program last week that offenders
would have to participate for at least 15 months, at a personal cost of about $3000.
About 1000 drink-drivers a year were expected to participate, with numbers gradually rising.
Last year, almost 20 per cent of serious casualty crashes in Tasmania included alcohol as a major factor. It was third highest, behind inexperience and speeding.
From 2008 to 2012, 53 fatalities and 317 serious injury crashes involved alcohol as a factor.
The RACT has welcomed the program, saying it had been advocating the move for a decade to combat recidivist drink-drivers.
Victoria introduced alcohol interlocks in 2002 and is hailing the program as a major success.