Melbourne - An Australian state's government has promised to get even tougher on drunk drivers, forcing any of them caught with excessive blood-alcohol readings to install an in-car breath tester once allowed back on the road.
The Victorian government on Friday pledged to introduce legislation making it compulsory for anyone who records a Blood Alcohol Reading (BAC) of 0.05, Australia's alcohol limit while driving, or above to pay for the installation of an alcohol interlock.
An interlock is a device wired into a car's ignition that checks the driver's BAC. The vehicle will only start if the driver is below 0.05 (5 grams of alcohol per 100 grams of blood). Currently, only those caught with a reading above 0.07 are forced to fit the expensive device. Guilty drivers will also be required to fit the newest version of the technology, which incorporates a camera to ensure the individual who blows into the interlock is in fact the person behind the wheel.
Victoria's Road Minister Luke Donnellan told Melbourne radio that the new stance was designed to send a strong message to those willing to put their lives, and the lives of others, at risk by drink driving. “Let's be very blunt, it's a reminder every morning that you've behaved badly,” Donnellan said on Friday morning. “It's a continual reminder to those that have drink-drived that they are bloody idiots.”
Government-backed statistics show that around 15 to 20 percent of Victoria's road fatalities each year are directly linked to drink driving. As well as the interlock provision, those convicted of drink driving will still stand to receive a substantial fine and be deducted at least 10 demerit points.
In Victoria, drivers can have their license suspended if they lose 12 demerit points over a three-year period. A statement on Friday said the state government would look to table legislation in the Victorian parliament “for the expansion of the alcohol interlock program as soon as possible.”