By Andy Young
Western Australia's road safety minister Liza Harvey has backed the state's use of alcohol interlocks, saying they will cut the incidence of drink-driving.
Alcohol interlocks, which act as breathalysers installed in cars, were approved by WA’s parliament last year and it is expected courts will soon start ordering the use of the devices.
The device is installed at the driver’s expense and Minister Harvey said figures indicate that around 5000 drink drivers in WA could be forced to have the interlocks fitted each year. She added that changes to Department of Transport systems was the only reason that interlocks were not already being fitted.
"We've had to completely re-engineer our IT systems through the Department of Transport and that's taking some time," Harvey said.
"The devices are available and we've certainly been able to set up service agreements with companies that can administer the devices.
"When we're ready in a few months’ time those devices will be available and we will have these eligible recidivist drivers in a program that will prevent them from starting their vehicle if they're under the influence of alcohol and stop the drink driving.”
She added: "In other jurisdictions where alcohol interlock devices have been fitted we see a really good response with offenders with respect to reoffending, so they do change their behaviour if they're in the alcohol interlock program."
The devices will be fitted to the cars of motorists who are convicted of driving with a blood-alcohol level in excess of 0.15 and those who have more than one conviction for driving over 0.08.