Alcohol Interlock

Mandatory Alcohol Interlock Program

If you are convicted of:

  • High Range PCA
  • Refusal or Failure to Submit to Breath Analysis or the Taking of a Blood Sample
  • Any Second or Subsequent drink driving related offence within a period of 5 years

you will be the subject of an Interlock Order, which consists of:

  • A minimum licence disqualification period, and
  • A period of participation in the interlock program (at least 12 months).

Interlock Exemption Orders are within the discretion of the Court, but are made only in very limited circumstances.

Participation in the interlock program requires you to arrange for the installation and regular servicing of an interlock by an accredited interlock service provider (see below).

If you have an interlock order imposed and fail to enter the interlock program, you will be disqualified from holding a licence (other than a learner or interlock licence) for a period of five years from the date of their conviction.


What is an Interlock?

Interlocks are electronic breath testing devices linked to the ignition system of cars, motorcycles and other types of vehicles.

Drivers of a vehicle to which an interlock device has been installed must provide a breath sample before the vehicle will start. The interlock analyses the sample for the presence of alcohol, and if a positive sample is detected, the vehicle will not start.

Drivers will then be subjected to randomly timed breath tests during a journey, which also must return a negative reading to enable the driver to continue driving.

How Does it Work?

The interlock retains a record of every breath test. Those records will be collected by the interlock provider during compulsory regular inspections. The data is monitored by Roads and Maritime Services (“the RMS”).

The RMS will have an oversight role during your participation in the interlock program. At the conclusion of the period of participation, the RMS may grant an unrestricted or provisional driver licence to you if your participation has been completed satisfactorily, or the RMS may require an alcohol-related Fitness to Drive medical assessment, if you have not shown that you can safely separate drinking and driving, and the RMS also has the power to extend the your time in the interlock program.


Interlock Installation

There are three accredited interlock service providers in NSW:


Costs of Participation in the Interlock Program

Costs associated with installing and servicing alcohol interlocks must be paid by you. Those costs include interlock device installation, monthly device leasing, regular device servicing (monthly or bi monthly) and device removal at the end of the mandatory interlock period. These costs are currently in the vicinity of $2,200 a year.

Are Concession Rates Available?

Interlock service providers offer a concession rate of 35 per cent off the full cost of installing, leasing, scheduled servicing and device removal if you hold a:

  • Pensioner Concession Card – Full rate pension recipients only
  • Health Care Card – Low income only
  • Department of Veterans Affairs Gold Card endorsed as:
    • TPI (totally and permanently incapacitated)
    • EDA (extreme disablement adjustment)
    • War widow or war widower.

What if I am Suffering Financial Hardship?

Short-term financial assistance may be available from Roads and Maritime Services if you are deemed to be in severe financial hardship due to unexpected circumstances. This assistance can range from partial assistance to the full amount owing to an interlock service provider, but is fairly limited in scope.


Medical consultation

General Practitioners (GP) have a critical role to play in the alcohol interlock program. There are up to three stages at which participants in the interlock program may need to visit their GP:

  • Stage 1:You must visit your GP before you enter the interlock program.
  • Stage 2:You may be asked to see your GP at certain stages of the program because of ongoing attempts to drive after drinking alcohol indicating ongoing risky behaviour or alcohol dependence.
  • Stage 3:You may also be required to see your GP before completing the program, to have your fitness to drive a vehicle assessed.


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