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Removing an interlock device

Information about the procedure for VicRoads to remove an alcohol interlock device.

From 1 December 2019 VicRoads manages all interlock removal applications. This applies to all applications for interlock removal irrespective of:

  • when the offence happened or
  • when the interlock licence condition was granted, or
  • whether the alcohol interlock condition was ordered by a court or imposed administratively by VicRoads.

See s. 50AAAB—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Do not just remove the interlock

It is an offence to attempt to dismantle an interlock device. Severe penalties apply.

See Breach of alcohol interlock conditions and How long will an interlock condition apply?

Eligibility requirements

A driver can apply to VicRoads to have their interlock licence condition removed from their licence provided that they:

  • have served their relevant minimum interlock period
  • organise a report detailing their interlock usage for at least 6 months
  • can prove that they have completed their second stage behaviour change program (if this is required).

See s. 50AAAB—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Driver must have served their minimum interlock licence condition

The driver may apply to VicRoads for the removal of their interlock licence condition if the minimum relevant period for their interlock condition has elapsed (if the person has multiple interlock conditions, each one of these must have been served, noting that they can be served concurrently).

Where the interlock licence condition was imposed by a court, the minimum relevant period is the one specified in the alcohol interlock direction that the court gave to VicRoads.

See s. 50AAAB(1)(a)(iii)—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

What is the relevant period?

The relevant period is the minimum period that a person must drive with an alcohol interlock licence condition. This varies according to the kind of drink driving offence and the date of that offence, but is listed in Schedule 1B of the Road Safety Act 1986. Time starts when the interlock condition licence or permit is granted. Any time where a driver was eligible to apply for an interlock licence condition, but did not do so, will not be counted.

Where VicRoads has imposed an alcohol interlock licence condition for interstate offences (under s. 31KB), the relevant period is the period beginning on the day that the interlock licence condition was granted and ending on the day when:

  • the driver would have been eligible to apply for the removal of the interlock condition imposed by the other state or territory, or
  • the alcohol interlock condition imposed by the other state or territory would have ceased by operation of law if that person had remained in the other state or territory.

See Schedule 1B, 31KA, 31KB—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).and Schedule 1B—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

If VicRoads is notified of a corresponding drink driving offence that happened in another state or territory

If the interstate offence was one that corresponded with an offence in Victoria, the relevant period is taken from the date that an alcohol interlock licence condition is granted and ends when the minimum period in Schedule 1B would apply had the person been convicted or found guilty of the Victorian drink driving offence that has been declared to correspond by an order under s. 25(1) of the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic).

See Schedule 1B, 25, 31KA, 31KB—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).and Schedule 1B—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window)

Report indicating the driver has complied with the interlock usage data requirements

The driver will have to ask their interlock provider (who serviced the interlock device) to send a report to VicRoads. This must include the most recent data and extend back to show at least 6 months of data that has been collected over a continuous period (or if a continuous period is not available, then a non-continuous period that is permitted under the regulations.

See:

Prescribed interlock usage data requirements

The requirements are that during the minimum compliance period:

  • an approved alcohol interlock remains in place during the period
  • the driver uses the vehicle at least twice every month
  • no 'tampering events' happen (disengaging interlock) except within the first month
  • driver must let supplier know within 14 days if vehicle was started without blowing into device
  • the vehicle does not fail to start due to alcohol being present in driver's breath
  • nobody fails to provide sample when required to do so after initial start.

See r. 31—Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Exceptions

No failures will be recorded during the first month of the interlock condition licence. The driver will also not be penalised if the vehicle failed to start and:

  • the court is satisfied that this was due to some other driver was using the interlock device. (They will be able to use interlock detection evidence to establish this.), or
  • one hour later the vehicle detected that no alcohol was present.

See r. 37B(2)—Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Costs

The combined cost of removing the interlock is about $80. There will also be a fee for getting the report from the accredited agency. This cost may vary between agencies and so it is best to shop around. There is no cost for filing the court application.

See Cost of interlocks.

Keeping track of progress

Drivers can keep track of their progress by logging into the VicRoads site.

See VicRoads—The alcohol interlock management system (AIMS)(opens in a new window)

Minimum compliance period

A driver who drives subject to an alcohol interlock device must have the device for at least the minimum compliance period before the court (or VicRoads) will remove their interlock licence. Ideally this period should be continuous, but if not.it must all add up to the minimum period required. It must show sufficient data from the agency report that adds up to at least the minimum period of the alcohol interlock licence period.

Time is deducted for any period where:

  • the driver did not use their vehicle at least twice in one month
  • the driver did not have a licence
  • the driver licence was suspended
  • any month during which the vehicle would not start because the interlock detected alcohol.

For example if an interlock licence was issued by VicRoads but the driver did not get around to getting an interlock fitted for 2 months and then they get fined for speeding and their licence is cancelled for another month. Then they go on holidays for two months and do not use their vehicle. Then they drive using the interlock for 2 months uneventfully. Although the interlock licence condition was granted 7 months ago, the driver will still need to use the interlock for another 4 months to collect data for the agency report.

See r. 31—Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and ss. 50AAA(7)(8)(9), 50AAB(4C)—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Behaviour change program

VicRoads must notify drivers who are required to complete a second stage behaviour change program. These drivers must have completed the second stage of the program before VicRoads will issue a licence that does not have an alcohol interlock condition attached to the licence.

This applies to drivers who have been disqualified or have had their licences cancelled for committing any of the following drink driving offences:

  • any drink driving offence under s. 49(1) with the exception of a supervising driver offence
  • any of the following offences under the Sentencing Act 1991 where the driver was under the influence of alcohol or both drugs and alcohol:
    • a serious motor vehicle offence as defined by section 87P of the Sentencing Act 1991:
      • manslaughter arising out of driving a motor vehicle
      • negligently causing serious injury arising out of driving a motor vehicle
      • culpable or dangerous driving causing death
      • intentionally or recklessly endangering the life of an emergency worker, custodial officer or youth justice custodial worker to risk by driving
    • stealing or attempting to steal a motor vehicle
    • dangerous or negligent driving while being chased by police (s. 319AA of the Crimes Act 1958)
  • any corresponding interstate drink driving offence that resulted in an alcohol interlock condition being fitted in that jurisdiction, and,
  • the offence was a subsequent offence, that is at least one prior drink driving offence within the last 10 years)

Exceptions

It does not include a first offence under s. 49(1)(b)(f) or (g) (or corresponding interstate offences) where the BAC was less than 0.15. These are the over the limit (or provide blood or breath sample within 3 hours of driving with more than prescribed amount of alcohol present.

VicRoads may exempt a person from the requirement to complete a second stage behaviour change program if satisfied that exceptional circumstances apply.

See s. 50AAAB, 58D, 58E—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window). and r. 37—Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window)

What if VicRoads refuses to grant interlock removal?

VicRoads will have to give reasons if they decide to refuse a driver's application to have their alcohol interlock licence condition removed. If VicRoads refused because the driver had not served the minimum period required, then the driver can simply wait until this period has been served and then reapply.

If the driver does not agree with the VicRoads decision they can seek a review using VicRoads internal review process. Details of the review process are set out in the regulations.

See s. 50AAAB—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and rr. 91, 92, 93—Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

VicRoads refusal due to service report

If the refusal was because the interlock service report shows that an attempt was made to start the vehicle and the vehicle would not start because it detected alcohol, the driver will be presumed to be responsible for this. In this case the driver will have to apply to the Magistrates' Court for an alcohol interlock condition removal order before they can have the alcohol interlock removed.

The driver has to give 28 days written notice of the application to the police, telling them which court they are applying to. The application must include any date relating to the failed attempt to start the vehicle, providing evidence of the identity of the person who attempted to start the vehicle.

The court will make a decision based on the evidence of the driver and of the police. The court will inform VicRoads of their order. If the court decides to order that the interlock device can be removed, the driver will then need to return to VicRoads with a copy of the order so that they can have the interlock condition removed from their licence.

See s. 50AAAC—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

If someone else tried and failed to start a vehicle fitted with an interlock

If someone else has tried to start a vehicle with an interlock device, but the car failed to start due to the presence of alcohol, this will show up on the interlock report for that vehicle. If this happens the driver who has an interlock device fitted to their vehicle will have to apply to the Magistrates' Court, asking the court to make a direction that they were not the one responsible for this failed attempt to start the vehicle. The court will then make a direction to VicRoads stating that the driver who drives subject to an interlock licence was not the one responsible.

The following documents will need to be filed at court when they make this application:

  • a copy of the written notice from VicRoads about the decision not to remove the alcohol interlock condition
  • data obtained from the alcohol interlock that relates to the failed attempts that provides evidence (whether photographic or otherwise) about the identity of the person who attempted to start the vehicle.

The alcohol interlock condition will not be stayed, when the application is made, or when the court makes a decision.

The matter will be listed for hearing within 28 days of the application being made.

To access the application form see Forms and s. 50AAAC—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

More information

Legislation

Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)

  • s. 19(7)—full licensed driver who drives subject to interlock device must carry licence in possession at all times while driving or being in charge of a motor vehicle
  • s. 31KA—administrative scheme for imposing alcohol interlock condition
  • s. 31KB—administrative scheme for imposing alcohol interlock condition for interstate offences
  • s. 50AAA—directions to impose alcohol interlock condition
    • s. 50AAA(7)—interlock period begins when VicRoads grants a licence with interlock condition attached (I licence)
    • s. 50AAA(8)—if more than one interlock condition is attached to a licence, the periods are to be served concurrently (together)
  • s. 50AAD—offences and immobilisation orders
  • s. 50AAAB—administrative scheme for removing an alcohol interlock condition
  • s. 50AAAC—application to Magistrates' Court for direction
  • s. 58D—persons required to complete a second stage behaviour change program
  • Schedule 1B—alcohol interlock requirement(opens in a new window)
  • item 57AA(f)—Schedule 2—subject matter for regulations—alcohol interlock usage data requirements

See Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)

  • Part 2 Division 4—Alcohol interlocks
    • r. 31—definition of minimum compliance period
    • r. 32—prescribed alcohol interlock usage data requirements
    • r. 33—report to accompany application for exemption from or removal of alcohol interlock condition on medical grounds
  • Part 5 Division 2—review
    • r. 91—defines 'relevant decision
    • r. 92—affected person entitled to be given reasons
    • r. 93—internal review

See Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

References

VicRoads

VicRoads has information for drivers about using and removing alcohol interlock devices.

See:

Updated