The interlock program allows drivers to get back on the road sooner by having an electronic breath testing device fitted to the ignition of their car, motorcycle or truck. After serving a shorter initial period of disqualification the driver then serves a longer ‘interlock period’. The interlock device requires the driver to pass a breath test at the beginning of any journey and at random times along the way. You need to register a zero reading otherwise the vehicle is disabled. The device also photographs the person providing the sample to prevent someone else from blowing into the device.
Some offences carry a mandatory interlock period, while others who are eligible can volunteer to participate in the program in order to have their license reinstated sooner. If you are facing your second or subsequent alcohol related major offence within a 5 year period you are likely to be placed on the interlock program.
Once you have served the initial period of disqualification you will need to visit a GP to complete a medical consultation certificate. This needs to be done within 28 days of applying for an interlock licence. You then need to arrange for the installation of the interlock device through an approved provider. Finally, you can apply to the RMS for an interlock licence. A condition will be printed on your licence stating that you can only drive vehicles that have an interlock device fitted.
There are three approved interlock providers in New South Wales – each charge slightly different fees for the installation, rental, and calibration of their devices. The overall fees are about $2200 per year. A $159 fee is payable to the RMS for an interlock licence.
The three approved providers in New South Wales are Guardian, Drager, and Smart Start. You should check each of their websites for costs and also consider if they have a service centre near you for ease of installation and calibration.
It is possible to get an exemption from the interlock program. You need to show the court that you don’t own a vehicle and don’t have access to a vehicle. An exemption from the interlock program means you’ll serve a much longer period of disqualification, and in some instances you’ll also have to complete the ‘sober driver program’, which is one day per week over six weeks.
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