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Frequently Asked Questions

Western Australian Alcohol Interlock Scheme

Program Violation Chart for Alcohol Interlocks WA

Type of Violation Violation Trigger Point
Initial Test violation 0.020 attempted start
Rolling Re-Test Violation 0.020 BAC or greater on rolling re-test
Skipped Rolling Retest Failing to provide test within 10 minutes
Circumvention Starting or by-passing device without taking a test

Random RE-Test Schedule for Alcohol Interlock Scheme WA

Frequently asked questions about the Alcohol Interlock Scheme WA

  1. Q: Why is the Alcohol Interlock Scheme being introduced?

    Dring driving is a factor in around one in five collisions, and one in ten serious injury collisions in WA at a community costing exceeding $460 million.

    Approximately 4,000 - 6,000 individuals commit drink driving offences in WA every year.

    The Primary purpose of an Alcohol Interlock Scheme is to reduce the road safety risk posed by drink drivers to themselves and other road users

    Participants in WA AIS will be required to remain on the scheme for a minimum period of time, satisfactorily demonstrate the separation of their drinking and driving and to comply with any requirement to participate in alcohol assessment and treatment before they are seen to constitute a lower risk to the community and are eligible to have the alcohol interlock condition (or 'I' condition) removed from their licence.

    National and International research has shown that interlocks are effective in reducing drink driving re-offending (on average by 64%). Some studies also show that Alcohol Interlocks may reduce drink driving crashes by up to 30%.

    Every State and Territory in Australia currently operates such a scheme, although they vary in their application and requirements

  2. Q: Who is an alcohol offender?

    Drivers will become alcohol offenders if they commit and they commit and are convicted of any of the following alcohol interlock offences on or after 24 October 2016.

    • Driving under the influence of alcohol offences (i.e. having a blood alcohol content(BAC) >0.15%); or
    • Repeat drink driveing offences (of driving with a BAC >0.080 or >0.050 or >0.020 within a five year period; or
    • Dangerous driving causing death, bodily harm or grievous bodily harm offences where the offender is under the influence of alcohol to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of a vehicle; or
    • Failure to provide a breath, blood or urine sample to WA Police.

    Under the WA AIS, a disqualification imposed upon a person convicted of the above offences will have the effect of cancelling any authorisation to drive held by that offender

    Persons who apply for the grant of a Western Australian driver's licence. while holding a driver's licence issued by another jurisdiction subject to an 'I' condition will also be required to participate in the WA AIS.

  3. Q: What is an alcohol interlock?

    Alcohol interlocks are breath testing devices that are installed into the ignition system of passanger vehicles, motorcycles and heavil vehicles.

    Under the WA AIS, a vehicle with an approved interlock installed will not start unless the driver passes a breath test. The driver must provide a breath sample with a BAC less than 0.020% before the vehicle will start. Randomly timed breath tests must also be provided and passed during any journey

    Alcohol interlocks also record breath alcohol readings and have data downloaded from them that can be used to report and monitor drink driving behaviour (as well as any attempt to circumvent or tamper with them). This functionality will apply to interlocks approved under the WA AIS.

  4. Q: Are alcohol interlocks accurate?

    Alcohol interlocks have been available for over 30 years. They reliably and accurately measure breath alcohol content. Interlocks used today are highly sophisticated and make circumvention reliabily detectable and extremely difficult.

    Regular servicing of interlocks, by an accredited service provider, ensures the device is functioning correctly.

  5. Q: is it possible to bypass an alcohol interlock?

    Interlocks approved for use in WA will feature physical and functionality elements which will prevent the device from being bypassed. Interlock devices will;

    • Be required to comply with the manipulation and circumvention requirements specifies in EN 50436-1 2014 (an international alcohol interlock standard): and
    • Be required to contain security seals which ensure detection of any un-authorised removing or opening of the interlock device. Once broken, the seals cannot be reinstated; and
    • Have features which detect the flow rate, sample volume and duration required for a breath test to ensure that the breath sample comes from a human source.

    Under the WA AIS:

    • Participating drivers will be required to provide randomly timed breath tests during any journey; and
    • All users of an interlock will be provided with training on how to use the type of interlock installed in the vehicle they drive; and
    • It will be an offence to tamper with or circumvent the operation of an interlock, to attempt to do so or to cause or permit another person to do so.
  6. Q: What is an alcohol interlock condition or an 'I' condition?

    A person who holds a licence subject to an alcohol interlock condition is known as an interlock-restricted driver

    Once the WA AIS is introduced any authorisation to drive issued to an alcohol interlock offender will be endorsed with an alcohol interlock or 'I' condition when:

    • An extraordinary licence is granted following conviction of an alcohol interlock offence; or
    • A new driver's licence is granted following a period of disqualification arising from conviction for an alcohol interlock offence
    • An alcohol offender or an interlock-restricted driver driving a vehicle without an approved and operational alcohol interlock installed within it commits an offence of driving while unauthorised under the Road Traffic Act 1974. Fines, periods of disqualification, vehicle impoundment and possible imprisonment are the penalties for being convicted of an unauthorised driving offence
  7. Q: Must alcohol offenders enter the AIS?

    After conviction of an alcohol interlock offence, alcohol offenders may choose not to seek an authorisation to drive when they are eligible to do so. If they make this choice, however, they will not be able to drive legally. Any attempt to drive while unauthorised(i.e. unlicenced driving) is an offence of the unlicenced driving under the Road Traffic Act 1974. Fines, periods of disqualification, vehicle impoundment and possible imprisonment are penalties for being convicted of an unlicenced driving offence

    The WA AIS has been designed to assist interlock-restricted drivers to enter into a contract with an accredited service provider to enable them to demonstrate the separation of their drinking from driving to enable them to progress towards an unrestricted driver's licence.

    If an Interlock-restricted driver has an approved interlock device fitted in their vehicle, but decides not to enter a contract with an accredited service provider to have their performance data monitored, by not participating in the Scheme and by not providing satisfactory performance data for a minimum period, the alcohol interlock will not be able to be removed from their driver's licence.

    Interlock-restricted drivers will not be eligible to have the interlock condition removed from their licence until they have successfully met all the requirements of th WA AIS (see section 26)

  8. Q: Are there any exemptions to entering the AIS?

    Alcohol Offenders may qualify for consideration of an exemption from participating in the WA AIS if the CEO of the Department of Transport is satisfied that they:

    • Reside more than 150Kms from any premises from which the services of an accredited service provider are located; or
    • Have a medical condition which prevents them from providing the required volume of breath to be analysed by the alcohol interlock. Evidence from a general practitioner (GP) or medical specialist will be required as part of the exemption application process.
  9. Q: Does the AIS apply to drivers with extraordinary licences, a learner’s permit or those on P plates?

    The WA AIS applies to anyone who is granted a licence after being convicted of an alcohol offence. This includes extraordinary, provisional and ordinary licence holders.

    If an alcohol offender is granted an extraordinary licence it will be endorsed with the alcohol interlock condition for the entire period of the extraordinary licence. Drivers with an extraordinary licence who participate in the WA AIS must comply with the conditions of their extraordinary licence.

    Where the court has imposed strict conditions on the extraordinary licence in relation to the routes on which and times at which the licensee is authorised to drive, the licensee will be permitted to drive vehicles to attend scheduled services but must drive via the most direct convenient route to the premises of the service provider.

    A learner’s permit is not a driver’s licence and hence participation in the WA AIS does not apply. Learner drivers can only drive under the direct supervision of a suitable licence holder.

  10. Q: How much does being on the AIS cost?

    Participants in the WA AIS must cover all costs associated with the use of the interlock. This will include: installation, rental, servicing and removal costs. Hence in a 6 month period approximate costs would be approximately $1,600 (Note: this is an estimate only and subject to change).

    Further costs may apply for provision of emergency override codes, attendance to unlock a vehicle which has been permanently locked-out, plus any towing costs.

  11. Q: Are there any concessions available on the AIS?

    Accredited service providers will offer a concession rate (on the monthly costs of leasing and scheduled servicing) to participants in the WA AIS with any of the following valid Commonwealth Department of Human Services concession and pensioners cards.

    • Health Care card - low income only
    • Pensioner Concession card - full rate pension only
    • Department of Veterans Affairs Gold card
    • TPI (totally and permanently incapacitated)
    • EDA (extremely disabled allowance)
    • MRCA Veterans (Military Rehabilitation & Compensation)
    • War widow or war widower.
  12. Q: What are my options if I can’t afford to participate in the AIS?

    The only alternative options to participating in the WA AIS are not to drive, or use public transport.

  13. Q: Why should I register with DoT Direct?

    Once an interlock-restricted driver has an approved alcohol interlock under a contract installed in a vehicle by an accredited service provider, their participation in the WA AIS and a restricted driving period starts. A participant may commence one continuous or more than one restricted driving period during their participation in the WA AIS.

    The disqualification imposed by the courts and the type of licence granted to a person will determine the length of their participation in the WA AIS and the applicable restricted driving period that the separation of drinking and driving must be demonstrated in order for the ‘I’ condition to be removed from an authorisation to drive.

    As mentioned in Section 16, under certain circumstances participation in the WA AIS may restart, (in which case a new restricted driving period commences) or participation in the WA AIS may be terminated.

    For the purposes of this document, the mandatory minimum period that an interlock-restricted driver is required to participate in the WA AIS is referred to as the ‘participation period’.

    The minimum participation periods are:

    • For permanently disqualified alcohol offenders granted an extraordinary licence - three (3) years;
    • For disqualified alcohol offenders granted an extraordinary licence - the duration of the extraordinary licence (unless the extraordinary licence is valid for less than 180 days in which case further requirements will apply); and;
    • For a person who serves his or her period of disqualification and is subsequently granted a driver’s licence – 180 days.

    Refer to section 26 for more detailed information about the requirements to have the interlock condition removed.

  14. Q: Who can install an alcohol interlock device in a vehicle?

    Interlock-restricted drivers can only legally drive vehicles with an approved alcohol interlock device installed by an accredited service provider.

  15. Q: What are the participant requirements while on the AIS?

    Participants in the WA AIS will be required to ensure that they:

    • Maintain a valid authorisation to drive (i.e. do not have their driver’s licence suspended, cancelled or let it expire); and
    • Have a relevant vehicle (i.e. one in which an approved alcohol interlock is installed under a contract between a participant and an accredited alcohol interlock service provider).
  16. Q: What is the result of not complying with the AIS requirements?

    If a participant breaches the WA AIS requirements, various consequences apply.

    Participation in the WA AIS may be extended (i.e. a new restricted driving period commences) and they may be required to attend alcohol assessment and treatment if the following occurs while a driver participates in the WA AIS scheme:

    • Any tampering or circumvention with the interlock is reported; or
    • Three or more occasions where the interlock records a failed breath test (such as a BAC equal to or above 0.02% at start-up, failure to submit a retest, a retest with a BAC equal to or above 0.02%) are reported within an inspection period; or
    • Failure to maintain a valid licence, including licence suspension, or licence expiration; or
    • Removing the alcohol interlock device from a vehicle prior to successfully demonstrating the separation of their drinking and driving for the minimum period; or
    • The vehicle is not presented or not presented in person for the scheduled service on more than one occasion;
    • No longer having a relevant vehicle (i.e. one in which an approved alcohol interlock is installed under a contract between the interlock-restricted driver and an accredited service provider).

    If a driver participating in the WA AIS scheme is convicted of subsequent alcohol interlock offences or any offence which results in the cancellation of the driver’s licence; their participation in the WA AIS terminates and may only restart when a driver again becomes an interlock-restricted driver and has access to a vehicle in which an interlock is installed under a contract with an accredited service provider.

  17. Q: What are the servicing requirements under the AIS?

    Participants will be required to present their interlocked vehicle for servicing every month or annually for the duration of their participation in the AIS at service centres established in Western Australia.

    The interlock device will provide a warning seven days before and seven days after the inspection date is due and the interlocked vehicle must be presented for service within that 14 day period.

    At scheduled services, performance data as well as information about the operation of the interlock will be downloaded and provided to the Department of Transport.

    If the interlocked vehicle is not presented for a scheduled service, the interlock device will permanently lock-out the vehicle. This means it can’t be driven until either an override code is purchased or the vehicle is towed to a service provider for servicing. Additionally, the participation period may be extended and the participant will be referred to alcohol assessment and treatment.

  18. Q: What is a lock out?

    The interlock device will prevent the vehicle from starting for short periods (i.e. a temporary lock out) if it detects a BAC equal to or above 0.02%. These temporary lock outs will last for five and 30 minutes (depending on the BAC level and whether this is the first or subsequent time a BAC of at least 0.02% is detected).

    The interlock device will also permanently lock out the vehicle if it is not presented for the scheduled servicing. If the vehicle has entered a permanent lock out state the interlock-restricted driver will either be required to have the vehicle towed to the accredited service provider or obtain an ‘override code’ (fees applicable) from the service provider in order to drive the vehicle.

    The ‘override code’ will only allow the vehicle to be driven for a short period to take the vehicle to the accredited service provider’s premises for servicing.

  19. Q: Can someone else present the relevant vehicle for servicing?

    The vehicle in which the approved alcohol interlock is installed must be presented in person by the participant (see further clarification below) and accredited service providers will verify the identity of the person presenting it.

    It is acknowledged that circumstances (e.g. incapacitating illness, work schedule etc.) may arise whereby the participant is unable to present the vehicle in person. Hence on one occasion only (while on the scheme), a person other than the participant may present the interlocked vehicle in person.

    If on more than one occasion an interlocked vehicle is presented by a person other than the participant in the WA AIS, then this will result in an extension to the period of participation in the WA AIS and referral to alcohol assessment and treatment.

  20. Q: What is the relevant blood alcohol limit when operating an alcohol interlock?

    All breath samples recorded by the interlock must contain blood alcohol contents (BACs) less than 0.02% in order for the interlock to allow a vehicle to start or for a journey to be continued.

    It is important to understand that the alcohol interlock device setting of a BAC of 0.02% is not the same as a person’s legal BAC limit when driving on the road.

    Interlock-restricted drivers are subject to a zero BAC limit and are required by law to abide by the zero BAC limit when driving

  21. Q: What happens when a driver fails a breath test when using an alcohol interlock?

    If the interlock registers a BAC of equal to or above 0.02% it records a failed breath test and the ignition is locked for five and 30 minutes (depending on the BAC level). After this period the driver can provide another breath test. If the test is failed again, the driver will be locked out for 30 minutes. This will continue until the driver provides a breath sample which registers a BAC below 0.02%

    Every time the interlock registers a BAC equal to or above 0.02% it records a fail.

    Any failed breath test recorded on the interlock device will be attributed to the participant in the WA AIS, regardless of who provided the breath sample.

    If three or more failed breath tests are recorded in one 30 day servicing period, the participating driver will be required to attend alcohol assessment and treatment and the participant’s time on the WA AIS will be extended.

  22. Q: What are the vehicle requirements under the WA AIS?

    An interlock-restricted driver may legally drive any vehicle in which an operational, approved alcohol interlock is installed.

    If an interlock-restricted driver does not have access to a vehicle fitted with an interlock device, they cannot drive legally.

    If a participant in the WA AIS or an interlock-restricted driver uses multiple vehicles, all of them will need to be fitted with approved interlock devices.

    Performance data for participants in the WA AIS from only one interlock device will be monitored and provided to the Department of Transport.

  23. Q: Can alcohol interlocks be fitted into work vehicles?

    When a participant in the WA AIS or an interlock-restricted driver needs to use a work vehicle in which an alcohol interlock is fitted in order for them to drive for work, they will need to make arrangements with their employer to have access to a vehicle in which an approved interlock has been fitted.

    The decision as to whether alcohol interlock devices can be fitted to work vehicles lies with the employers. Employers may consider installing alcohol interlocks in work vehicles as an extension of safe driving policies and a demonstration of an extension of duty of care to employees in their workplace.

  24. Q: Sharing an interlocked vehicle

    A vehicle fitted with an interlock can be shared between those who are participants in the WA AIS and those who are not. However, it is important to understand that all the data recorded by the interlock device will be attributed to the participant in the WA AIS.

    If failed breath tests are recorded, the participant will be required to spend longer on the WA AIS and be referred to alcohol assessment and treatment.

    Two participants on the WA AIS can use the one interlocked vehicle, but performance data can only be attributed to one participant at a time.

  25. Q: What is the alcohol assessment and treatment required under the AIS?

    Participants in the WA AIS will be required to undertake alcohol assessment and treatment if any of the following occurs during their restricted driving period:

    • Any tampering or circumvention with the interlock is reported; or
    • Three or more occasions where the interlock records a failed breath test (such as a BAC equal to or above 0.02% at start up, failure to submit a retest, a retest with a BAC equal to or above 0.02%) are reported within a scheduled service period; or
    • The vehicle is not presented or not presented in person for the scheduled service on more than one occasion.

    The required alcohol assessment and treatment is delivered by the Mental Health Commission and comprises six one hour individual therapeutic intervention sessions. These sessions will be free of charge with a trained alcohol and drug counsellor from an approved alcohol and other drug treatment provider

    At the completion of the six sessions, participants will be provided with a Certificate of Compliance, and the Department of Transport will be notified that all required sessions were attended.

  26. Q: What are the requirements to have the alcohol interlock condition removed? How do participants complete the AIS?

    All participants in the WA AIS must demonstrate the separation of drinking and driving for a continuous 180 day period immediately prior to exiting the scheme. The applicable periods are as follows:

    • Permanently disqualified alcohol offenders granted an extraordinary licence – the 180 days immediately prior to the end of their three year participation period.
    • Disqualified alcohol offenders granted an extraordinary licence – the 180 days immediately prior to the end of their disqualification period (unless the extraordinary licence is valid for less than 180 days in which case further requirements will apply).
    • For a person who serves his or her period of disqualification and is subsequently granted a driver’s licence - a continuous 180 days following the grant of their licence.

    Permanently disqualified drivers must accrue three years of restricted driving / participation since the last time the licence was cancelled or subject to a disqualification. Extraordinary licence holders cannot complete the scheme until any period of disqualification has ended and all other AIS requirements are met

    If referral to alcohol assessment and treatment was required following breaches against AIS requirements, a Certificate of Compliance with the alcohol assessment and treatment requirement must have been received by the Department of Transport.

    Once all relevant conditions are met, the CEO of the Department of Transport will notify participants in writing that they have successfully completed the scheme.

  27. Q: What happens if the alcohol interlock is removed from the vehicle early?

    If a participating driver removes an approved interlock prior to completing the scheme, their participation in the WA AIS terminates. Thus any performance data provided prior to this time will not count if and when a person resumes their participation in the WA AIS.

    Without an approved interlock fitted to any vehicles driven by that driver, they will not be able to drive legally.

  28. Q: Do other Australian jurisdictions have alcohol interlock schemes?

    All Australian states and territories have alcohol interlock schemes

  29. Q: Can people on other states’ schemes participate in the WA AIS?

    If a driver moves from interstate to Western Australia and has an interlock requirement imposed in the home State, the interlock-restricted driver will be subject to the WA AIS when they make an application for a Western Australian driver’s licence.

  30. Q: Can drivers be required to participate in the WA AIS more than once?

    Should a person who has completed the requirements of the WA AIS be convicted of further alcohol interlock offences, their driver’s licence will again be endorsed with an interlock condition when they reapply for their licence.

  31. Q: Which penalties apply under the WA AIS?

    Under the WA AIS it is an offence to:

    • Tamper or cause or permit another person to tamper with an approved alcohol interlock device. The penalty is a fine of $2,500;
    • Circumvent or cause or permit another person to circumvent the operation of an alcohol interlock device. The penalty is a fine of $2,500.

    The commission of these or other offences can also impact on the time required to participate in the WA AIS.

  32. Q: How is a participant’s privacy protected while in the WA AIS?

    Accredited service providers and their agents are legally obliged to maintain an AIS participant’s confidentiality. They cannot see data specifics, but Department of Transport staff may at anytime you can see your own data on request.

  33. Q: Will cameras or fingerprint recognition be used in the WA AIS?

    At this point in time the WA AIS will not include the use of alcohol interlocks that have cameras fitted or thumb print recognition. Future phases of the WA AIS may include such technologies which will allow for identification of a driver using an alcohol interlock.

  34. Q: Can alcohol interlocks be used on a voluntary basis in WA?

    It is possible to have an alcohol interlock fitted to a vehicle even when the driver does not have an ‘I’ condition on their licence.

    If a person is not an alcohol offender they may explore options with a service provider to purchase an alcohol interlock.

    Additionally, it is possible to have community or work vehicles fitted with an alcohol interlock so that the community, the driver’s interlocked vehicles and everyone who travels in them can be protected from the harm associated with drink driving.

    Individuals or organisations will be required to make their own arrangements to purchase and have interlocks installed into vehicles if they are not part of the WA AIS.

If you are unsure about your situation, you should call DoT on 13 11 56

For enquiries regarding the interlock devices, contact Smart Start Interlocks

In all EMERGENCY situations please call 1300 256 900.