Breathalyser interlocks in action
More than 200 drivers nationwide have had breathalyser devices connected to their cars to stop them from drinking and driving.
The sentencing option became available last year in September, and allowed repeat drink-drive offenders and first time offenders convicted of driving with blood alcohol levels double the current adult limit to be given an alcohol interlock disqualification.
An alcohol interlock is a device similar to a breathalyser that is connected to a vehicle’s starting system.
Before the vehicle can be star- ted, the driver must provide a breath sample.
Interlocks in New Zealand are effectively set for a zero limit, the New Zealand Transport Agency said.
In the first year, 242 alcohol interlock sentences have been handed down by the courts to 220 offenders, with 77 interlock licences issued by NZTA.
Of the 77 offenders who have received interlock licences, 68 have had interlocks fitted to their vehicles.
At sentencing, offenders are ordered to apply for a $ 200 Alcohol Interlock Licence.
The pink licence means they can only drive a car that has the breathalyser device fitted.
The device is then installed by Auckland company Draeger. and works in a similar way to a car immobiliser.
The reason there were more sanctions than offenders is that in some cases a judge would impose more than one sanction, for more than one offence, on a single offender.
Transport Agency Road Safety Director Ernst Zollner said, ‘‘There are now more than 200 serious and repeat drink-drive offenders who will only be able drive legally if they have an interlock fitted.
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