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Alcohol ignition interlocks

Queensland's Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program

Alcohol ignition interlock laws came into effect on 6 August 2010.

An alcohol ignition interlock stops a vehicle from being started if the driver has been drinking alcohol. Interlocks protect road users by separating drinking and driving.

An overview of the program can be found in the Queensland's Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program flyer.

What is an alcohol ignition interlock?

An alcohol ignition interlock is a breath test device connected to the ignition of a vehicle to stop it from starting if the driver has been drinking alcohol.

Why are interlocks being introduced?

High risk drink driving is a serious problem. The Queensland Government aims to reduce the occurrences of drink driving by taking a tougher approach.

An interlock stops a vehicle from being started if the driver has been drinking alcohol. While installed, research has shown interlocks are effective in preventing further drink driving offences and alcohol-related crashes.

Who does the interlock program apply to?

You will be part of the interlock program if you committed and are convicted of any of the following offences on or after 6 August 2010:

  • a drink driving offence recording a breath/blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or more, driving under the influence of liquor, or failure to provide a breath/blood specimen for analysis
  • dangerous driving while affected by alcohol
  • 2 or more drink driving offences of any kind within a 5 year period.

Yes the interlock program applies to me, what do I need to do now?

After your disqualification period ends, you will need to take the following steps before you can drive:

  1. Go to a customer service centre and apply for a new licence. Your new licence will show an 'I' (for interlock) on it.
  2. Arrange to have an interlock installed in your chosen vehicle. Please see the details under 'Who are the interlock providers?' below.
  3. Fill in the Apply/Remove a Vehicle Nomination form (F4841) and give it to your chosen interlock provider before you start your interlock agreement. The interlock provider will then inform the department about your nominated vehicle with an interlock installed for the interlock program. For further information about nominating a vehicle, please refer to the Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program – Vehicle Nomination Information Sheet (S4840).

Who are the interlock providers?

The contracted interlock providers for the Queensland program are:

*Standard call charges apply. Higher rates apply to mobile phones.

Approved interlocks for the program can only be obtained from these providers. You cannot buy and install your own interlock.

Where do I go to get my interlock installed?

There are currently a large number of locations available in Queensland where you can go to have your interlock installed. To find an installer within your area please contact one of the interlock providers to find the most convenient location for you.

If neither of the interlock providers has a location available in your area you may be eligible for an exemption. Please view the section Are any exemptions available? for more information.

What are the costs?

The cost is approximately $2,000 spread over the duration of the interlock program. You will have to pay for all costs relating to the program.

The costs may include:

  • the fee for obtaining a new licence with an 'I' (for 'interlock') on it, in addition to normal licensing fees
  • costs for installation, rental, servicing and removal of your interlock.

You will have to enter into a service agreement with an interlock provider directly and this will influence the fees ultimately charged.

How long will I have to be part of the interlock program?

You will need to be part of the program a maximum of 2 years. This time starts the day after your drink driving disqualification period ends. The length of time you are in the program depends on whether you follow the rules of the program.

You may be eligible to leave the program early if you meet the requirements of the Prescribed Period.

What is a Prescribed Period?

The minimum period you are required to be in the program is known as the 'Prescribed Period'. This period starts when all 3 of the following conditions are met and continues for a minimum of 12 months:

  • you hold a valid Queensland driver licence with an 'I' (for interlock condition) on it
  • you have an approved interlock installed in your vehicle
  • the vehicle details have been given to an interlock provider via the Apply/Remove a Vehicle Nomination form (F4841).

So, if you fit an interlock before you obtain your licence, time towards your Prescribed Period does not start until the day you get your driver licence.

Once you have met all of the above requirements for a minimum period of 12 months you may be eligible to exit the program.

It is recommended you check you have completed your Prescribed Period before removing the interlock from your vehicle.

Important: If you remove the interlock from your vehicle before you have completed your Prescribed Period, you will not be eligible to exit the program early. If the interlock needs to be reinstalled, it will be at your own expense.

Doing the wrong thing may extend the minimum Prescribed Period.

What circumstances can extend the minimum time I have to be part of the program?

Circumstances that could extend the minimum Prescribed Period could include if you attempt to drive or succeed in driving your nominated vehicle:

  • without first providing a sample of breath
  • when you knew, or ought to have known, the vehicle’s interlock was not operating properly or
  • if the interlock has been tampered or interfered with.

The interlocks that are approved for use in Queensland incorporate a range of features to reduce the possibility of anyone ‘cheating’ or circumventing the interlock. The interlock’s internal memory records the number of breath tests conducted, the results of all breath tests, and so on.

Interlock providers are trained to inspect the interlock and associated vehicle wiring to identify any attempts to tamper with the operation of the interlock. Any suspected cases of tampering will be reported to the department by the interlock providers.

What is the Interlock Period?

The Interlock Period is the maximum period of 2 years that you will be part of the interlock program, and legally unable to drive unless you comply with all requirements of the program. This period applies regardless of whether you obtain a new licence with an ‘I’ (for interlock) on it.

If you obtain a new licence during this period you will need to visit a customer service centre to have the ‘I’ on your licence removed after you have completed the program.

What restrictions apply to me when in the program?

If you intend to drive while on the interlock program the following restrictions apply:

  • you must hold a valid licence that has an 'I' (for interlock) on it
  • you must only drive a vehicle that has an approved interlock installed, supplied by one of the interlock providers listed on this page
  • the vehicle details must be given to an interlock provider via the Apply/Remove a Vehicle Nomination (form F4841)
  • you must have no alcohol (0.00) in your system at all times while driving.

What is a ‘valid’ licence?

A valid licence is one that is not cancelled, suspended or expired and the holder of the licence has not been disqualified by order of an Australian court from holding or obtaining a driver licence.

Can I choose not to install an interlock?

Yes. However if you choose not to have an interlock installed you will not be able to drive for 2 years.

What penalties apply for not following the rules of the program?

Harsh penalties apply for not following the rules of the interlock program.

If you choose not to obtain a driver licence after your disqualification period ends and you drive unlicensed, you may face a fine in excess of $4000 and a further disqualification period of 6 months. You will also need to start your interlock program again.

If you do not follow any of the rules below you may face a fine in excess of $2800. Drivers who breach the first 2 rules may also be disqualified from holding a licence and will have to start the interlock program again.

  • You must not drive a vehicle unless it has an interlock installed and maintained by one of the providers listed on this page unless you have an interlock exemption certificate.
  • You can only drive the vehicle that you have nominated on the Apply/Remove a Vehicle Nomination (form F4841).
  • If you have an interlock exemption, you must obey all restrictions stated on the exemption certificate.
  • If you have an interlock exemption, you must produce the exemption certificate for inspection when requested by a police officer.
  • If you have an interlock exemption, you must notify the department in writing of any changes to your personal situation that may affect your exemption within 14 days of the change occurring.

How do I nominate a vehicle to install the interlock in?

You will need to complete the Apply/Remove a Vehicle Nomination (form F4841) with your vehicle details and give this to the interlock provider you have chosen to install your interlock. The interlock provider will then tell the department the details of the vehicle the interlock has been installed in.

Can I drive a vehicle that already has an interlock installed?

If you wish to drive a vehicle that already has an approved interlock installed, you will need to contact the provider who originally installed the interlock and enter into an agreement with them. You will also need to give that provider a completed Apply/Remove a Vehicle Nomination (form F4841) for that vehicle when you start your agreement.

If you have had an interlock installed in your vehicle in another state and have recently moved to Queensland you will first need to transfer to a Queensland driver licence, then contact an approved interlock provider and enter into an agreement with them. This will ensure the interlock is functioning as required under the Queensland interlock program (which may be different to other Australian jurisdictions) and that the provider is reporting to the department on your use of the vehicle and the interlock.

What rules apply when more than one driver uses the same interlock?

The department must be aware which driver is using the interlock at any point in time. This is achieved either through technology available on the interlock (for example by use of a PIN code) or the use of an Interlock Driver Record (form 4847). This will depend upon the capabilities of the interlock installed.

Please be aware if the interlock isn't able to differentiate between you or the other interlock drivers, then all interlock drivers must fill out an Interlock Driver Record (form 4847) each time they drive the vehicle.

Certain rules apply to multiple interlock user arrangements. Your interlock provider will advise you of these rules at the time the multiple user arrangement is established. Penalties apply for failing to comply with these rules.

Why do I need to nominate my chosen vehicle?

You need to nominate a vehicle so that both the provider and the department can track the use of the interlock, and make sure you fulfil the requirements of the interlock program.

I drive a company vehicle and have to go on the interlock program – what do I do?

If you drive a company vehicle you will need to gain your employer’s permission for an interlock to be installed in the vehicle so that you can legally drive that vehicle. You will need to arrange to have an interlock installed in this vehicle by an interlock provider and fill in the Apply/Remove a Vehicle Nomination (form F4841), have it signed by your employer and give the form to your chosen interlock provider.

For further information please contact Guardian or Draeger directly as per the details listed under 'Who are the Interlock providers?'.

Can I install my own interlock?

No. You will need to contact one of the providers listed above to organise the installation of an approved interlock.

Can interlocks be installed in any vehicle?

Interlocks can be installed in most vehicles with an ignition; this includes cars, trucks and motorcycles.

Can other people who are not part of the interlock program drive the vehicle with an interlock installed?

Yes. A vehicle with an interlock installed may be driven by other drivers, such as family members. These drivers will need to provide a breath sample in order to start the vehicle. Regardless of whether these drivers are legally subject to the general alcohol limit (under 0.05) they will be required to drive with no alcohol in their system (0.00) in order to start and drive the vehicle.

Is it possible to bypass or tamper with the interlock?

There are a number of measures in place to ensure that the interlock cannot be bypassed by having another person start the vehicle for the interlock driver. These include:

  • additional retesting required after the vehicle has been started and the person has been driving for a few minutes
  • a certain volume of breath needed to pass the breath test (so children cannot provide a breath sample)
  • training required for all nominated people who will be using the vehicle.

These measures are all in place to ensure that the interlock driver is meeting the requirements of the program.

What is the alcohol limit I need to have while driving?

If you are in the interlock program you must have no alcohol in your system (0.00) before you start the vehicle and during driving. You will be required to take additional breath-tests while driving.

What happens if I fail the breath test when using the interlock?

If the interlock registers alcohol in your breath it records a ‘fail’ and the ignition is locked. You will be able to do another breath test after a short period of time.

Every time the interlock registers alcohol in your breath it registers a ‘fail’. If you record too many failed breath tests within a scheduled service period you will be locked out of the ignition and you will not be able to start your vehicle. You may require your service provider to come to your location and reset the interlock which may involve a delay and extra fees.

Are interlocks reliable?

Interlock technology has been available for over 30 years and is considered to be reliable and accurate.

Do I have to have the interlock serviced?

Yes. As part of the interlock agreement with your chosen interlock provider, regular scheduled servicing is required. You will be given the information about your servicing requirements from the interlock provider when you have your interlock installed.

I live in a country area in Queensland, do I have to install an interlock?

There are some areas in Queensland that do not have interlock installers due to geographical location. You may be eligible for an exemption if your place of residence is more than 150km from the nearest installer. For further information about the service locations please check with the interlock providers.

I live interstate but have been charged for drink-driving in Queensland, what does this mean for me?

Most other Australian jurisdictions operate alcohol ignition interlock programs. If you have been charged with one of the eligible drink-driving offences in Queensland that requires you to be part of the interlock program but you are licensed in another state, then the decision as to whether you will be part of an interlock program will be up to the licensing authority in that state.

I am required to use an interlock in my home state. I'm moving to Queensland - what do I do?

If you move to Queensland from interstate and have an interlock requirement imposed in that state you may be subject to Queensland’s interlock program when you transfer your licence. If so, you will be issued with a licence with an ‘I’ (for ‘interlock’) and will have to comply with the requirements of the program.

I am moving to Queensland and I already have an interlock installed in my vehicle - what should I do?

If you move to Queensland and already have an interlock installed in your vehicle you will need to go to a customer service centre to transfer your licence to a Queensland licence. You may be subject to Queensland’s interlock program when you transfer your licence.

If you are issued with a Queensland licence with an ‘I’ (for ‘interlock’):

  • You will need to make an appointment with an interlock provider to establish an agreement with them for the provision of interlock related services for the Queensland interlock program.
  • You will not be able to legally drive a vehicle that already has an interlock installed unless you have entered into an agreement with an approved interlock provider that will provide services to you as part of the Queensland program. If you have an existing contract with one of the approved interlock providers as a result of participating in an interlock program in another state you will still need to start a new contract with the provider for the Queensland program. Establishing a new contract will ensure the interlock is functioning as required under the Queensland program (which may be different to other states) and that the provider is reporting to the department on your use of the interlock.
  • If you drive a vehicle that has an interlock installed without entering into a Queensland contract with a provider you will be committing an offence and may face a fine and/or licence disqualification.

Are any discounts available?

Yes. You may be eligible for a discount on some costs relating to the installation, rental, scheduled servicing and removal of an interlock if you hold a valid Health Care Card issued by the Australian Government.

Is any financial assistance available?

Yes. If you are a low income earner you may be eligible for financial assistance on some costs relating to the installation, rental, servicing and removal of an interlock.
You may be eligible for financial assistance if:
  • you hold a valid Queensland driver licence endorsed with an 'I' (for interlock) (you may lodge an application prior to obtaining a driver licence with an 'I' on it and conditional approval may be granted pending a licence being obtained)
  • you are an Australian Citizen or permanent resident
  • the assessable income and liquid assets are below the maximum allowable limits which apply to your circumstances (see table below)
  • you have not received financial assistance for the interlock program in the last five years.

To be eligible for financial assistance your annual income must be less than the maximum annual income and your current bank balance must be below the maximum liquid assets† for your circumstances as outlined below.

For example, if you are single and not in the workforce with two dependent children and your annual income is $38,570.72 and your bank balance is $658.42 – while your liquid assets are below the relevant limit you would not be eligible for financial assistance as your annual income exceeds the maximum amount.

†Your liquid assets are any funds that are readily available to you, including money in banks, building societies, or credit unions.

CircumstancesMaximum Annual IncomeMaximum Liquid Assets
Single (single or separated) – not in workforce $23,441.68 $3,000
1 dependent child $30,941.12 $3,000
2 dependent children $38,088.52 $3,000
3 dependent children $45,235.40 $3,000
4 + dependent children $52,382.80 $3,000
Single (single or separated) – in workforce $28,443.04 $3,000
1 dependent child $35,947.68 $3,000
2 dependent children $43,089.88 $3,000
3 dependent children $50,237.28 $3,000
4 + dependent children $57,384.16 $3,000
Couple (married or de facto) – neither in workforce $32,371.64 $5,000
1 dependent child $39,519.04 $5,000
2 dependent children $46,665.92 $5,000
3 dependent children $53,813.32 $5,000
4 + dependent children $60,960.20 $5,000
Couple (married or de facto) – either/both in workforce $37,373.00 $5,000
1 dependent child $44,520.40 $5,000
2 dependent children $51,667.28 $5,000
3 dependent children $58,814.68 $5,000
4 + dependent children $65,961.56 $5,000

The above thresholds are subject to change and are current as at 29 July 2014. These figures are derived from the Henderson Poverty Line which is updated quarterly.

If you have a partner, their income and liquid assets will also be assessed. If you are a dependent child, your parent(s)/guardian(s)’ income and liquid assets will be assessed.

To receive financial assistance you must apply to the department.

The Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program – Financial Assistance Scheme Information Sheet (S4900) provides more information about financial assistance.

Are any exemptions available?

Yes. There are exemptions available from some of the requirements of the interlock program.

You may be eligible for an exemption from driving a vehicle installed with an interlock if you:

  • reside outside a 150 km radius from the nearest interlock provider’s place of business. Check with the interlock providers for the location of your nearest interlock installer
  • reside on an island, which is not connected to the mainland by bridge, where there is no interlock installer and the island is not a non-exempt island
  • have a medical condition that prevents you from providing the required volume of breath to operate the interlock. (Note: For an exemption on the basis of a medical condition you will need to provide an Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program – Medical Certificate for Interlock Exemption Application (form F4864) completed by your doctor.)
  • have extenuating circumstances that impact on your ability to reasonably use an interlock. This is more than just an inconvenience - the circumstances must be unduly burdensome for you or your family. An interlock exemption will not be granted if you are unable to install the interlock for employment reasons.

To apply for an exemption you must:

The Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program – Interlock Exemption Information Sheet (S4863) provides more information about if you are eligible for an exemption.

Do other Australian jurisdictions have interlock programs?

Yes. Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and the Northern Territory all have interlock programs. Western Australia has indicated that they intend to introduce an interlock program. Tasmania recently conducted a 1 year trial of interlocks.

I have more questions. Who do I talk to?

For enquiries regarding the interlock devices, contact your chosen interlock provider (see contact details above).

For enquiries regarding the interlock program, contact the department on 13 23 80.

Forms for download

Last updated
29 July 2014