Alcohol interlock programme in New Zealand
In 2011, Parliament passed legislation allowing for the introduction of an alcohol interlock programme in New Zealand for repeat drink drivers and some first time drink drivers. An alcohol interlock is a device similar to a breathalyser that is hard wired into the ignition of a vehicle. The vehicle will not start until a satisfactory breath sample has been given. Interlocks have been used internationally for 30 years in criminal justice systems as a way to manage drink drivers. Under the New Zealand programme, following a short disqualification period, an alcohol interlock will be required as a licence condition for some drink drivers. This paper will look at the use of interlocks in lieu of a longer period of disqualification and the benefits of this approach. The primary benefit of such a programme is that it is based on keeping a person driving, rather than the traditional punitive measures of disqualification, fines and imprisonment. It will also highlight the potential benefits of an interlock system on individuals, families, communities and the justice system. This paper will also look at the ways that an interlock programme can be supported and enhanced by the involvement of the health sector, non-government and voluntary organisations, and communities.