Published: Dec 5, 2018

Handbrake on Drink Driving

It’s the end of the road for drink drivers with tough new deterrents starting from midnight December 2, 2018.
Under the new laws, mid-range drink drivers will now spend at least three months disqualified and need to have an alcohol interlock installed in their vehicle for 12 months.

If you are a repeat, high-risk drink driver, Police will also have the power to take your number plates or vehicle on the spot.

Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said drivers have had almost 38 years to get used to the 0.05 limit on NSW roads. It’s simple – if you drink, have a Plan B.

“We all know drink driving is unacceptable and now the penalty is swift. Fifty-five people lost their lives in alcohol related crashes last year and around 6,000 mid-range first offences", Mrs Pavey said.

For drivers with a blood alcohol reading of 0.08, the risk of crashing is around four times that of a driver who has not been drinking. This increases to at least 12 times by 0.15.


  • Mid-range offences involve a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 to less than 0.15
  • Expansion of the alcohol interlock program, which already applies to high-range and repeat offenders, to also include all mid-range drink drivers
  • Roadside, on the spot vehicle sanctions for repeat, high risk drink drivers, including number plate or vehicle confiscation for three months
  • Interlocks are breath test devices linked to the ignition of a vehicle that stop it from starting if alcohol is detected
  • 84 per cent of those surveyed support interocks for drink driving offenders

Centre for Road Safety Executive Director Bernard Carlon said interlocks allow drivers to get their licence back after serving time off the road, but they must have a zero alcohol limit behind the wheel for a year.

“Vehicle sanctions enable Police to remove high risk drivers from the road on the spot, and send a clear message that there is no excuse,” Mr Carlon said.