P platers could be breath tested before driving

09 October 2015

A new road safety report published by Austroads has recommended that P plater vehicles should be fitted with breathalyser interlocks, requiring them to have 0% alcohol on their breath before being able to start their vehicles.

Currently, interlocks are only compulsory for drivers who have been caught drink driving three times over the limit or if they have been caught drink driving at least twice in the past 5 years but this report is proposing to extend this to all novice drivers in an attempt to curb the statistics wherein, according to the report, 17% of P and L Plate drivers had illegal level of alcohol in their system when involved in an accident between 2003 and 2012.

As a comparison, fully licensed drivers over the same period accounted for only 2% of the accidents.

The report, Options to Extend Coverage of Alcohol Interlock Programs, acknowledges there may be issues around the use of interlocks for novice drivers who don't own a vehicle but share cars with other family members or drive a commercial vehicle. The current scheme involves an installation, servicing and administration fee costing the driver more than $2000 a year, which would likely be at the driver’s expense.