New Zealand is attempting to combat drunk-driving with alcohol interlocks. Over 200 drivers have been told to fit breathalyser-like devices in their car since the sentencing option became available in September 2012.
The alcohol interlock sanction has become a sentencing option since it became available on Sep 10, 2012 for the repeat drunk drivers and first-time offenders convicted of driving with double the limit of blood-alcohol level.
Since then, courts have handed down 242 alcohol interlock sentences to 220 offenders, with the New Zealand Transport Agency issuing 77 interlock licenses. There are more sanctions given than the number of offenders because there are cases when more than one sanction is imposed on one offender.
The offenders have been ordered to apply for a $200 Alcohol Interlock License, a pink license which means that holders can only drive a car that has the breathalyser-like device installed.
The license must be held for at least 12 months, but the court may approve its removal if the driver's drug and alcohol tests come back clean after six months.
Auckland-based company Draeger installs the device in their vehicle. Offenders bear the cost of the fitting and monitoring of the device.
Just like a regular breathalyser, drivers must provide a breath sample to the device, which is connected to their vehicle's starting system. If their sample result is higher than the pre-programmed breath-alcohol level, they will not be able to start their vehicle.
Interlocks are effectively set for a zero limit in New Zealand, and are needed not only to start the vehicle, but at random times while it is in use.
"There are now more than 200 serious and repeat drink-drive offenders who will only be able to drive legally if they have an interlock fitted which will prevent their car from starting if any alcohol is detected on their breath - and that means our roads are safe for everyone," Transport Agency Road Safety Directory Ernst Zollner has been quoted by Fairfax NZ News as saying.
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