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by Tim Beissmann

Drink-drivers who record a blood-alcohol reading of 0.07 and above will be forced to fit ignition interlock devices to their vehicles under new laws announced by Victoria’s transport minister today.

From October, first-time offenders who blow 0.07 or above, and probationary and professional drivers and those caught driving on a cancelled licence who blow between 0.05 and 0.07 will be required to fit an interlock to their vehicles.

The $1000-plus cost of fitting, maintaining and removing an interlock device – which stops a car from being started until the driver returns a satisfactory breath sample – will be the responsibility of the offending driver.

From next year, convicted drink-drivers will be forced to fit interlocks with cameras, preventing people other than the driver from providing a breath sample to start the car.

Victorian transport minister Terry Mulder promises the laws will get tougher too, adding that all drink-drivers will be required to fit interlocks by 2016.

Currently, Victorian road laws demand only repeat drink-driving offenders and those who return blood-alcohol readings of 0.15 and above to fit interlocks to their vehicles.

Mulder said drink-drivers were responsible for 25-30 per cent of deaths and 11 per cent of serious injuries on Victoria’s roads.

He said the program is expected to see at least 10,000 new interlocks fitted every year – almost double the current rate.

“Victoria is an international leader in road safety,” Mulder said. “We have taken great strides in reducing deaths from 1000 per year in the 1970s to less than 250 now, but more can, and is, being done.

“Alcohol interlocks are proven to reduce repeat drink driving by up to 64 per cent while they are fitted. This program has already prevented people affected by alcohol from driving their vehicles more than 250,000 times.”

Victoria’s expanded alcohol interlock program will commence on October 1.




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