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Options to Extend Coverage of Alcohol Interlock Programs

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Publication no: AP-R495-15 Pages: 178
Published: 30 September 2015


Despite high levels of community education and sustained enforcement, alcohol-related crashes and drink-driving offences continue to pose a threat to road safety.

Alcohol interlock programs are one element of enforcement. High-range, repeat or other serious drink-driving offenders can be required to fit alcohol interlocks to their vehicles. The interlock is an electronic breath-testing device that prevents the car from starting if alcohol is detected.

This report examines the evidence base and develops options to extend the coverage of alcohol interlock programs to: a wider segment of drink-driving offenders; other high-risk groups; corporate fleets; and if appropriate, the broader driving population on a voluntary basis.

The report assesses where additional road safety benefit could be gained over and above existing strategies to mitigate the frequency and consequences of drink-driving.

This report presents an overview of current Australasian drink-driving legislation and alcohol interlock program requirements. It identifies gaps in current alcohol interlock programs in Australasia and overseas, identifies opportunities to expand alcohol interlock programs and assesses whether evidence shows a need to expand their coverage given rates of alcohol-related crashes and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) offences.

The report examines published evaluations of alcohol interlock programs so as to understand their effectiveness and to assist in making recommendations as to how current programs could be modified, expanded, or tailored to specific driver/rider groups. A review of current and future alcohol interlock technology builds an understanding of system specification, cost and device calibration issues that impact driver and community acceptance. This review, as well as an examination into community attitudes to the expansion of alcohol interlock devices, helps to identify options to expand current alcohol interlock programs. 


Table of Contents

Summary
  • Introduction
  • Principal Findings
  • Crash-risk associated with drink-drive behaviour
  • The magnitude of alcohol-related crashes and drink-drive behaviour
  • Current alcohol interlock programs in Australasia and overseas programs
  • Effectiveness of alcohol interlock programs
  • Current and emerging alcohol interlock technology
  • Attitudes toward the fitment of alcohol interlock devices
  • Conclusions and Alcohol Interlock Program Expansion Opportunities
  • Expansion opportunities relating to drink-drive offenders
  • Expansion opportunities relating to non-offender driving groups
  • Matters relevant to the fitment of alcohol interlock devices and performance of alcohol interlock programs generally
1. Overview
  • 1.1 Background
  • 1.1.1 Alcohol and Drink-driving
  • 1.1.2 Alcohol Interlock Programs
  • 1.2 Purpose
  • 1.3 Structure of Report
  • 1.4 Project Scope and Use of the Report
2. The Magnitude of Drink-Driving: An Analysis of Crash Data, Offence Data and Interlock Orders
  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Available data
  • 2.3 Alcohol-related crashes
  • 2.3.1 Alcohol-related fatality and injury crashes in Victoria
  • 2.3.2 Alcohol-related fatality and injury crashes in New South Wales (NSW)
  • 2.3.3 Alcohol-related fatality and injury crashes in Queensland
  • 2.3.4 Alcohol-related fatality and injury crashes in South Australia
  • 2.3.5 Alcohol-related fatality and injury crashes in Western Australia (WA)
  • 2.3.6 Alcohol-related fatality and injury crashes in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
  • 2.3.7 Alcohol-related fatality and injury crashes in the Northern Territory (NT)
  • 2.3.8 Alcohol-related fatality and injury crashes in Tasmania
  • 2.3.9 Alcohol-related fatality and injury crashes in New Zealand
  • 2.4 Offence Data and Alcohol Interlock Conditions
  • 2.4.1 Alcohol-related driving offences in Victoria
  • 2.4.2 Alcohol-related driving offences in New South Wales (NSW)
  • 2.4.3 Alcohol-related driving offences in Queensland
  • 2.4.4 Alcohol-related driving offences in South Australia
  • 2.4.5 Alcohol-related driving offences in Western Australia (WA)
  • 2.4.6 Alcohol-related driving offences in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
  • 2.4.7 Alcohol-related driving offences in the Northern Territory (NT)
  • 2.4.8 Alcohol-related driving offences in Tasmania
  • 2.4.9 Alcohol-related driving offences in New Zealand (NZ)
  • 2.5 Concluding comment
3. Description of Australasian and Selected International Alcohol Interlock Programs
  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Development of the program comparison matrix and definitions
  • Date of implementation
  • Program responsibility
  • Availability of dedicated interlock program
  • Nature of program participation (voluntary or mandatory)
  • Program eligibility
  • Program conditions
  • Program length
  • Availability of a hardship licence
  • Treatment availability
  • Behavioural interventions
  • Program participation
  • Program evaluation
  • Alcohol laws (BAC limits)
  • Legislative highlights
  • 3.3 Overview and description of current alcohol interlock programs in Australasia
  • Commonalities among Australasian schemes
  • Differences between Australasian schemes
  • 3.3.1 Characteristics of the New South Wales (NSW) alcohol interlock program
  • 3.3.2 Characteristics of the Victorian alcohol interlock program
  • 3.3.3 Characteristics of the Queensland alcohol interlock program
  • 3.3.4 Characteristics of the Northern Territory (NT) alcohol interlock program
  • 3.3.5 Characteristics of the South Australian (SA) alcohol interlock program
  • 3.3.6 Characteristics of the Tasmanian alcohol interlock program
  • 3.3.7 Characteristics of the ACT alcohol interlock program
  • 3.3.8 Characteristics of the New Zealand alcohol interlock program
  • 3.4 Overview and description of current alcohol interlock programs in the United States
  • 3.4.1 Summary of US programs
  • 3.4.2 Characteristics of the Alabama alcohol interlock program
  • 3.4.3 Characteristics of the California alcohol interlock program
  • 3.4.4 Characteristics of the Washington (State) alcohol interlock program
  • 3.4.5 Notable Features of Other Alcohol Interlock Program in the US
  • 3.5 Overview and description of current alcohol interlock programs in Sweden, the Netherlands and British Columbia (Canada)
  • 3.5.1 Characteristics of the Swedish alcohol interlock program
  • 3.5.2 Program to encourage alcohol interlocks into commercial and government vehicles in Sweden
  • 3.5.3 Characteristics of the Netherlands alcohol interlock program
  • 3.5.4 Characteristics of the British Columbia (Canada) alcohol interlock program
  • 3.6 Discussion of Alcohol Interlock Program features
  • 3.7 Concluding Comment
4. Alcohol Interlock Programs: Efficacy, Mental Health and Treatment Considerations
  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Method
  • 4.3 Efficacy of Alcohol Interlock Programs
  • 4.3.1 Goal of Alcohol Interlock Programs
  • 4.3.2 Target Populations
  • 4.3.3 Challenges Associated With Implementation of Alcohol Interlock Programs
  • 4.3.4 Effectiveness of alcohol interlock programs in different population groups
  • 4.4 Alcohol ‘pathology’ – considerations for alcohol interlock programs
  • 4.5 Concluding comment
5. Alcohol Interlock Technology
  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Alcohol Interlock Technologies
  • 5.2.1 Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices
  • 5.3 Types of Technologies Used in Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices
  • 5.3.1 Semiconductor Based Breathalysers/Semiconductor-Technologies
  • 5.3.2 Intoxilysers or Spectrophotometers
  • 5.3.3 Electrochemical-based Breathalysers (Fuel-cell Technology)
  • 5.4 Emerging ‘add-on’ Technologies to Alcohol Interlock Units
  • 5.5 Future Developments and Other Technologies Used to Measure BAC
  • Tissue spectrometry (skin sensors)
  • Offset/Distant spectrometry (‘alcohol sniffers’)
  • Transdermal perspiration measurements
  • Eye movements
  • 5.6 A comment on alcohol biomarkers
  • 5.7 Effectiveness and Limitations of Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Technologies
  • Accuracy and discrimination
  • Anti-circumvention features
  • 5.8 Concluding comment
6. Policy Considerations: Attitudes Toward the Fitment of Alcohol Interlock Devices
  • 6.1 Introduction
  • 6.2 National Survey of Attitudes toward the fitment of Alcohol Interlocks
  • 6.2.1 Background to Survey
  • 6.2.2 Sampling Frame and Survey Design
  • 6.2.3 Survey Respondents
  • 6.2.4 Information Provided Concerning Alcohol Interlocks
  • 6.2.5 Perceived Usefulness of an Alcohol Interlock to the Respondent
  • 6.2.6 Level of Support for the Compulsory use of Alcohol Interlock Technology among Different Driver- Vehicle Combinations
  • 6.3 Implications
  • Findings relating to interlocks for personal use
  • Support for the compulsory use of alcohol interlock devices
  • 6.4 Concluding comment
7. Discussion and Options for Expanding the Coverage of Alcohol Interlock Programs
  • Chapter 1. Alcohol, drink-driving and crash risk:
  • Chapter 2. The magnitude of alcohol-related crashes and drink-drive behaviour:
  • Chapter 3. Current alcohol interlock programs in Australasia and overseas programs:
  • Chapter 4. Effectiveness of alcohol interlock programs:
  • Chapter 5. Current and emerging alcohol interlock technology:
  • Chapter 6. Attitudes toward the fitment of alcohol interlock devices:
  • 7.1 Expansion and refinement of current offender-based alcohol interlock programs
  • 7.2 Expansion of alcohol interlocks to novice drivers
  • 7.2.1 Probationary drivers
  • 7.2.2 Learner drivers
  • 7.3 Expansion of alcohol interlocks to fleet and commercial vehicles
  • 7.3.1 The case for expansion of alcohol interlocks into fleets and commercial vehicles
  • 7.3.2 The use of alcohol interlocks in commercial vehicles in Europe: An example to follow?
  • 7.3.3 The current regulatory environment
  • 7.4 Other considerations in the expansion alcohol interlock programs and device fitment
  • 7.4.1 Mechanism of detecting whether vehicles should be fitted with an alcohol interlock
  • 7.4.2 No requirement for alcohol interlocks to be installed in emergency services vehicles
  • 7.4.3 A possible approach to classifying vehicles
  • 7.4.4 The benefits of a harmonised approach
  • 7.4.5 Considerations for rural and remote communities
  • 7.5 Conclusion and Recommendations
  • Expansion opportunities relating to drink-drive offenders
  • Expansion opportunities relating to non-offender driving groups
  • Matters relevant to the fitment of alcohol interlock and performance of alcohol interlock programs generally
References
  • Compulsory fitment of alcohol interlocks for all drivers of all vehicles
  • Compulsory fitment of alcohol interlocks for all drivers of passenger cars
  • Compulsory fitment of alcohol interlocks for learner drivers of passenger cars
  • Compulsory fitment of alcohol interlocks for probationary licensed drivers of passenger cars
  • Compulsory fitment of alcohol interlocks for semi-trailer/articulated truck drivers
  • Compulsory fitment of alcohol interlocks for standard (rigid) truck drivers
  • Compulsory fitment of alcohol interlocks for hazardous material truck drivers
  • Compulsory fitment of alcohol interlocks for light commercial vehicles (vans, 4*4 / 4*2) drivers
  • Compulsory fitment of alcohol interlocks for drivers of large buses / coaches
  • Compulsory fitment of alcohol interlocks for drivers of school buses
  • Compulsory fitment of alcohol interlocks for probationary licensed drivers of light/small passenger buses (seven to 13 seats)
  • Compulsory fitment of alcohol interlocks for taxi drivers
  • Compulsory fitment of alcohol interlocks for emergency service vehicle drivers (police, fire, ambulance)
  • Compulsory fitment of alcohol interlocks for motorcyclists
  • Compulsory fitment of alcohol interlocks for first-time drink-drive offenders
  • Compulsory fitment of alcohol interlocks for repeat drink-drive offenders

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