The new laws officially come into force on May 20, as NSW kickstarts its 'zero-tolerance' approach to drink and drugged-driving
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Harsher penalties for New South Wales drink and drug drivers come into force on May 20, with drivers facing instant licence loss for even 'low-range' offences.

Update: This story has been updated, as the laws come into force on May 20. It was originally published with the headline: 'NSW passes tougher drink driving penalties'. The opening par has been adjusted.

Under the new laws, low-range offences will be met with a $561 fine and instant, roadside three-month license loss. The same penalties will also apply to first-time 'drug presence' offenders.

Beyond low-level offences (0.05-0.07 BAC), mid-range offenders (0.08-0.149 BAC) will be forced to fit an alcohol interlock in their cars. High-risk, repeat offenders face vehicle impound or licence plate confiscation.

“The 0.05 limit has been in place in NSW for almost 38 years. Today is about driving home to the community that there are no more excuses,” said Melinda Pavey, NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight.

“The message to the community is powerful. Have a Plan B. Because if you drink drive, you will be caught, and you will lose your licence."

Although they're tougher than the existing New South Wales rules, the revised laws aren't quite as harsh as those in Victoria.

Drivers caught with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.10 instantly lose their license for six months, are forced to complete a behaviour change program, and fit an alcohol interlock to their car.