Amendments to drink driving legislation relating to interlock orders and driver education programs commence in Queensland on 10 September 2021.
Interlock program now applies to more drink driving offences
From 10 September 2021 mandatory interlock orders apply upon conviction for any drink driving offence with a BAC of 0.10 or greater. Previously interlock orders only applied to offences with BAC of 0.15 or more.
An interlock device is a breath testing instrument which is connected to the electrical system of a motor vehicle and prevents the engine being started unless the driver passes a breath test. These devices must be installed, by an approved installer at the driver’s expense, if a court order makes it a requirement of being able to obtain a driving licence.
Education programs for drink drivers
From 10 September 2021 conviction for any offence which attracts a mandatory interlock order renders the driver ineligible to obtain a licence for 5 years from the date of their conviction unless they have completed an approved drink driver education program.
First offenders must complete a brief intervention education program (BIEP). Repeat offenders must complete a repeat offender education program (ROEP). These programs are separate to the Queensland Traffic Offenders Program, which is generally completed prior to the offender being sentenced.
Exemptions from completing the required drink driver education programs are available. Applicants must show that requiring them to do the program would be unreasonable or cause severe hardship. However, applications for exemption cannot be made until the end of the applicable licence disqualification period.
The By Lawyers Magistrates Court (QLD) – Traffic Offences guide has been amended accordingly. See Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program in the commentary for more information. The precedent Letter to client finalising the matter and confirming outcome of plea has been amended to incorporate the new provisions.