Department of State GrowthTransport

Tasmania's Mandatory Alcohol Interlock Program Frequently Asked Questions

What is an alcohol ignition interlock?

  • An alcohol interlock is a breath testing device connected to a vehicle’s ignition. Each time you drive the vehicle you must take a breath test and if a BAC is registered of .02% or above the vehicle will not start. Any I condition licence holder must have a .00% BAC at all times whilst driving.

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Why are alcohol interlocks being introduced?

Drink driving is a major factor in fatalities and serious injuries on Tasmanian roads.

An alcohol interlock stops a vehicle from being started if the driver has been drinking any alcohol and is effective in preventing further drink driving offences and alcohol-related crashes while installed. Research has further shown that they should not be removed unless drink drivers can demonstrate they can separate their drinking from their driving.

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Who will the program apply to?

You will be required to participate in the program if you are convicted of any of the following offences:

  • a drink driving offence recording a BAC of 0.15 or more;
  • two or more drink driving offences in a five year period;
  • driving under the influence of liquor; and
  • failing to provide a breath/blood specimen for analysis.

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Yes, the program will apply to me, what will I need to do?

The Department of State Growth will send you program information and application forms before your disqualification period ends. Before you can drive you will need to:

  1. Complete the program application form and enter into a contract with an alcohol interlock supplier to have an alcohol interlock installed in a vehicle and regularly serviced. Please see the details under 'Who are the interlock suppliers?' below.
  2. The alcohol interlock supplier will advise the Department of State Growth which vehicle nominated vehicle(s) you will be driving under the program.
  3. Take the program application form, endorsed by the alcohol interlock supplier, to Service Tasmania and apply for a new licence. Your new licence will show an 'I' (an 'I' in "I Condition" requiring an 'alcohol interlock') on it.

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Who are the interlock suppliers?

Under the program you must not drive a vehicle unless it has an interlock fitted and regularly serviced by an alcohol interlock supplier approved by the Department of State Growth (except if a work exemption is approved)

There are currently three approved interlock suppliers:

Draeger Australia Pty Ltd
Phone: 1800 350 416
draeger.com/interlockTAS

Guardian Interlock
Phone: 1300 881 005
guardianinterlock.com.au

Smart Start Interlocks
Phone: 1300 256 900
smartstartinterlocks.com.au

Approved interlocks for the program can only be obtained from these suppliers. You cannot buy and install your own interlock.

Vehicles must have current Tasmanian registration.

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Will any exemptions be available?

There are exemptions available from participation (either wholly or in part) in the program. Exemption application fees will apply. For more details see Exemptions.

If you are awarded an exemption you will still need to have a zero BAC while driving, and abide by any other conditions imposed by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles.

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Where will I go to get my interlock installed?

You will need to contact one or more of the approved alcohol interlock suppliers to find an installer in the most convenient location for you. Alcohol interlock service providers have installers at service centres within a reasonable driving distance of all participants including the East Coast and North-West Coast of Tasmania (typically within 150 km).

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What will the costs be?

The cost of the program is expected to be approximately $3000-3500. Costs will be higher for participants who have lockouts or commit other offences whilst on the program.

If you committed the offence that triggered the requirement to have an Interlock System installed prior to 31 July 2013 there is a fee waiver in place.

For offences committed after 31 July 2013 you will have to pay for all costs relating to the program. This will include program administration fees, installation, rental, servicing and removal costs of the alcohol interlock. Normal driver licensing fees will also apply.

Program entry, exit and servicing fees will be minimised with all other costs smoothed over a minimum 15 month period and collected by the alcohol interlock supplier. You will have to enter into a service agreement with an interlock supplier directly and this will influence the fees ultimately charged.

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Will any discounts be available?

If you hold a valid Health Care Card issued by the Australian Government you may be eligible for a discount of up to 35 percent for costs relating to program administration and the installation, rental, servicing and removal of an alcohol interlock.

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How long will I have to be part of the program?

You will need to have an alcohol interlock installed in any vehicle you drive for a minimum period of 15 months (the "I Condition Period").

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What is the "I Condition Period"?

The "I Condition Period" starts on the day you are issued with a driver's licence with an "I Condition" and comprises two stages:

  • A "Learning Period" of 270 days (nine months), followed by
  • A "Demonstration Period" of minimum 180 days (six months).

You will be advised by the Department of State Growth when you have completed the program and the "I Condition" has been revoked.

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Will I have to have the interlock serviced?

Yes. As part of the interlock agreement with your chosen alcohol interlock supplier, regular scheduled servicing will be required. You will be required to service the alcohol interlock device every 30 days at service centres established around Tasmania. If you do not attend a scheduled service of your interlock device it will permanently Lockout the vehicle.

You will be required to attend servicing in person to receive a "Performance Report" including the number of "Lockouts" recorded during the last service period.

After the initial 30 day service period, if you do not record any "Lockouts" in any service period, you may be eligible for a 90 day service period for the next service period.

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Can someone else drive the vehicle and attend an interlock servicing?

  • Yes. Other people such as family members can drive a nominated vehicle that has been fitted with an approved interlock. The vehicle will not start if a BAC is recorded of .02% or more and if the person holds an I condition licence must have a BAC of .00%  at all times whilst driving.

However, if you do not attend the service in person the current service period will not count towards the "I Condition Period".

If you cannot attend an interlock service in person for any reason, such as travel or holidays, you must arrange for an alternative servicing date prior to the expiration of your current service period.

If you are unwell and cannot attend a service in person you should obtain a medical certificate and arrange for that to be presented at the next servicing of your alcohol interlock device. If the period of the medical certificate spans one or more service periods the service period (s) will not count towards your "I Condition Period".

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How will I complete the program?

To complete the program, after you have commenced the "Demonstration Period" an alcohol interlock installed in any nominated vehicle must record zero "Lockouts" in the last 180 days prior to servicing.

Recording zero "Lockouts" in the last 180 days prior to your servicing means you have demonstrated that you can separate your drinking from your driving without the need for an alcohol interlock to be installed in any vehicle you drive. Please see What is an alcohol ignition interlock? above for more information about alcohol interlocks and "lockouts".

During the "I Condition" period Department of State Growth will regularly advise you of your overall progress towards completing the program.

If you are unable to separate your drinking from your driving you will continue to be required to have an alcohol interlock fitted to any vehicle you drive.

You will need to pay additional monthly program administration fees and interlock rental and servicing costs in accordance with your agreement with the alcohol interlock supplier

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How do I remove the interlock?

You will be advised by the Department of State Growth when you have completed the program and the steps to obtaining a new licence without the I condition.

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What happens if I remove my interlock device early or without approval?

The Registrar receives electronic notification whenever an interlock device is removed from a vehicle.

Should you remove your interlock device prior to the end of your 15 months program and without the Registrar's approval your driver licence will be suspended and the time spent without an interlock in your vehicle will be added to your 15 month program.

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What circumstances do not count towards the "I Condition Period"?

If you lose your licence or the registration of a nominated vehicle lapses for any reason longer than 14 days, any suspension or cancellation period will not count towards the "I Condition Period".

If you do not attend the service in person, the current service period will not count towards the "I Condition Period".

Other circumstances where you would be required to restart the "I Condition Period" (at the "Learning Period") of the "I Condition" include:

  • you attempt to drive or succeed in driving your nominated vehicle without first providing a breath sample;
  • you drove your nominated vehicle when you knew, or ought reasonably to have known, the vehicle's Approved Interlock was not operating properly;
  • your nominated vehicle interlock has been tampered or interfered with; and
  • you are convicted of driving a vehicle without an Approved Interlock installed in breach of the "I Condition" on their licence.

The alcohol interlocks that are approved for use in the program incorporate a range of features to reduce the possibility of anyone 'cheating' or circumventing the alcohol interlock. An Approved Interlock's internal memory records the number of breath tests conducted, the results of all breath tests, and so on.

Interlock suppliers are trained to inspect the interlock and associated vehicle wiring to identify any attempts to tamper with the operation of the interlock. Any suspected cases of tampering will be reported to the Department of State Growth by the interlock suppliers.

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What restrictions will apply to me when in the program?

If you intend to drive while on the interlock program the following restrictions will apply:

  • you must hold a valid licence that has an 'I' (for interlock) on it;
  • only drive a vehicle that has been fitted with an Approved Interlock;
  • the interlock must be supplied by one of the interlock suppliers listed on this website;
  • the vehicle details must be given to the Department of State Growth by an approved interlock supplier; and
  • you must have zero alcohol in your system at all times when driving.

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What is a 'valid' licence?

A valid licence is one which is not cancelled, suspended or expired and the holder of the licence has not been disqualified by order of an Australian court from holding or obtaining a driver licence.

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Can I choose not to install an interlock?

To legally drive, you must fit an alcohol interlock from an approved supplier to any Tasmanian registered vehicles you drive (except if a work exemption is approved) or have been granted an exemption. SeeExemptions

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What penalties will apply for not following the rules of the program?

If you choose not to obtain a driver licence after your disqualification period ends and you drive unlicensed you may face a heavy fine and a further disqualification period. Under the "I Condition" you must not drive a vehicle with a BAC greater than zero and if you are convicted of any alcohol-related offence you will need to start the program

If you lose your licence or the registration of a nominated vehicle lapses for any reason for longer than 14 days you will have the "I Condition Period" extended by the length of expiry or suspension period.

If you have a program exemption, you must:

  • obey all conditions stated on the exemption certificate at all times;
  • produce the exemption certificate for inspection when requested by a police officer; and
  • notify the Department of State Growth in writing of any changes to your personal situation that may affect your exemption within 14 days of the change occurring.

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How will I nominate a vehicle to install the interlock in?

The alcohol interlock supplier will advise the Department of State Growth which vehicle nominated vehicle(s) you will be driving under the program.

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Can I drive a vehicle that already has an interlock installed?

If you wish to drive a vehicle that already has an approved interlock installed, you will need to contact the supplier who originally installed the interlock and enter into an agreement with them. You will also need to give that supplier a completed program application form.

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Why will I need to nominate vehicles?

You will need to nominate vehicles that you wish to drive with an alcohol interlock, complete a program application form and provide these details to the interlock supplier. This is so that both the supplier and the Department of State Growth can track the use of the vehicle and the interlock, and make sure you fulfill the requirements of the program. These vehicles must have current Tasmanian registration.

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I drive a company vehicle and have to go on the program - what will I do?

You may seek an exemption from the requirement to have an alcohol interlock installed in you company vehicle if you have an alcohol interlock installed in another nominated vehicle. The exemption only applies if you are driving a vehicle to or from work, or for the purposes of your employment.

If you only drive a company vehicle you will need to gain your employer's permission for an interlock to be installed in the vehicle so that you can legally drive that vehicle. You will need to arrange to have an interlock installed in this vehicle by an interlock supplier and complete the program application form, have it signed by your employer and give the form to your chosen interlock supplier.

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What if my employment does not permit me to maintain the 30 day servicing period?

If you are subject to the MAIP but cannot maintain the 30 day servicing period due to employment (ie: you work on a fly-in, fly-out roster) you may apply in writing to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles for an extended servicing period. Evidence of your employment and roster must be provided with this application.

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Can I install my own interlock?

No. You will need to contact an approved alcohol interlock supplier to organise the installation of an Approved Interlock.

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Can interlocks be fitted to any vehicle?

Interlocks can be fitted to most vehicles with an ignition; this includes cars, trucks and motorcycles.

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Is it possible to bypass or tamper with the interlock?

There are a number of measures in place to ensure that the system cannot be bypassed by having another person start the vehicle for the interlock driver.

These include:

  • additional retesting required after the vehicle has been started and the person has been driving for a few minutes
  • a certain volume of breath needed to pass the breath test (so children cannot provide a breath sample)
  • training required for all those nominated people who will be using the vehicle.

These measures are in place to ensure that the interlock driver is meeting the requirements of the program.

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What is the alcohol limit I will need to have while driving?

If you are in the interlock program you must have no alcohol in your system (0.00 BAC) before you start the vehicle and during driving. You will be required to take additional breath-tests while driving.

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What happens if I fail the breath test when using the interlock?

If the interlock registers alcohol in your breath it records a 'fail' and the ignition is locked - a "Lockout". You will be able to do another breath test after a short period of time.

Every time the interlock registers alcohol in your breath it registers a 'fail'. If you record too many failed breath tests within a scheduled service period you will be permanently locked out of the ignition and you will not be able to start your vehicle. You may require your service provider to come to your location and reset the interlock which may involve a delay and additional servicing fees.

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Are interlocks reliable?

Interlock technology has improved considerably since it first became available over 30 years ago and is now considered to be reliable and accurate.

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Can more than one driver select the same vehicle to drive as part of the program?

More than one person can nominate the same vehicle to have an alcohol interlock installed under the program.

Both persons will need to ensure the installed alcohol interlock can differentiate between interlock program drivers and pay program administration, installation, rental, servicing and removal costs.

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What rules will apply when more than one driver uses the same interlock?

The Department of State Growth must be aware of which driver is using the interlock at any point in time. This is achieved through technology available on the interlock e.g. a pin code or camera.

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Do other Australian jurisdictions have interlock programs?

Yes.

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What if I am transferring to Tasmania with an interstate I condition licence?

If you are transferring to Tasmania with an active I condition licence from another jurisdiction you will be issued a Tasmanian I condition licence in the Learning Period. This means you are subject to the full 15 month requirement of the program.

Applications can then be made to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles for recognition of time already spent on the I condition in the original jurisdiction. The maximum time that will be recognised on an interstate licence is 6 months.

Your nominated vehicle must have current Tasmanian registration.

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What if I am transferring interstate with a Tasmanian I condition licence?

If you are moving to another jurisdiction and holds an active Tasmanian I condition licence you will need to contact the licensing authority in your new jurisdiction to find out what you need to do to be issued a licence there.

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