26 September 2023

BOCSAR finds Courts reducing drink driving

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Breath-test devices installed in the vehicles of high-range drink drivers significantly reduce repeat drink-driving, according to a new report from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR).

Releasing its report The effectiveness of alcohol interlocks in reducing repeat drink driving and improving road safety, BOCSAR said that since 2015 the Mandatory Alcohol Interlock Program (MAIP) had allowed NSW courts to order high-range and repeat drink drivers to install an alcohol interlock breath test device in their cars, trucks or motorcycles.

“The alcohol interlock device prevents the vehicle’s ignition from starting if it detects alcohol in the driver’s breath,” BOCSAR said.

The Bureau said its study compared outcomes for 3,273 first-time high-range drink drivers who took up interlock devices with 5,367 first-time mid-range offenders who recorded a blood alcohol concentration just below the high-range threshold and were therefore ineligible for a device.

It found the high-range drink drivers were 86 per cent less likely to commit a new drink driving offence while the device was installed, and were slightly less likely to commit a further drink driving offence in the two years after the interlock was removed.

Commenting on the findings the Executive Director of BOCSAR, Jackie Fitzgerald said that given their effectiveness, increasing the uptake of alcohol interlocks should be a priority for Government.

“Research suggests that high-risk drink drivers are less likely to comply with traditional court-imposed sanctions, leading to higher rates of driving whilst disqualified and alcohol-related crashes” Ms Fitzgerald said.

BOCSAR’s 35-page report on the effectiveness of alcohol interlocks can be accessed at this PS News link.

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