QLD Government Proposes Major Changes to DUI Laws

Qld Government proposes major changes to DUI laws

The Queensland Government has recently released a discussion paper which proposes a number of significant changes to the current drink driving laws. If passed, these will have a significant impact on the penalties that are imposed on drink drivers.

Here, we examine the various proposals and how they will affect Queensland drivers.

Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program

The current drink driving laws required a person to install an alcohol ignition interlock in their vehicle if:

  1. The person has been convicted of a high-range (0.15% or above) drink driving offence; or
  2. The person has been convicted of a 2nd drink driving offence within a period of 5 years.

If the driver does not want to install the interlock, or they are unable to do so for any reason, they can remain without their licence for an additional 2 years after their disqualification ends. At the end of that 2-year period, they will be eligible to apply for their licence without the alcohol interlock requirement.

The proposed laws however take things further. These laws propose the following:

  1. The 2-year  period will be increased to 5 years, meaning that the driver will have to wait an additional 5 years before they can apply for their licence without the alcohol interlock requirement;
  2. To have the interlock removed, a driver will need to complete a program and then demonstrate that they are able to separate drinking from driving;
  3. Middle-alcohol range offences (between 0.10% to 0.149%) will need to have the interlock installed; and
  4. Learner or Provisional licence holders who commit a drink driving offence will need to have an interlock installed, regardless of the alcohol reading or whether it is a first offence.

While we always support steps that reduce drink driving offences, our experience is that most people are unaware of the existence of the interlock program and therefore it is unlikely to act as much of a deterrent.

We also believe that the current 2-year waiting period is sufficient. The cost to install and maintain an interlock device is about $2,000 for the length of the program (12 months) and it is almost always due to financial reasons that a person will not install an interlock. It is therefore mostly the financially disadvantaged who would suffer as a result of these changes.

Drink Driving Education Program

It is proposed that drink driving education programs be introduced with the following formats suggested:

  1. All first time drink driving offenders will need to complete an online brief intervention program to educate them about their alcohol consumption and to separate drinking from driving;
  2. Repeat offenders will need to complete an intensive face-to-face drink driving education program with a qualified professional before they would be eligible to reapply for their licence.

We fully support any education program that raises awareness about the dangers of drink driving although we would be interested to find out more regarding the logistics involved in the face-to-face programs, given how many repeat offenders go through the courts every day.

Drink Driving Work Licence Applications

The Government is also proposing significant changes to work licences which allow a person to continue to drive for work purposes only, even after they have been disqualified for a drink driving offence.

Currently, only Open licence holders are eligible to apply for a work licence and only if their alcohol reading was below 0.15%.

Under the proposals that have been put forward:

  1. Work licences may be scrapped completely, meaning that a driver who has been disqualified for drink driving cannot drive for any purpose including for their employment; or
  2. Work licences may only be granted to Open licence holders who have an alcohol reading below 0.10%.

We have serious concerns about both of these approaches.

In our experience, many people who are caught driving while disqualified are in fact driving for work purposes. They have families to support, mortgages to pay and bills to pay. They therefore take the risk  of driving while disqualified, even knowing the consequences.

If the work licence program is scrapped or restricted, it opens the possibility of even more people being caught driving while disqualified, which is itself a very serious offence.

For those who comply with the disqualification, it could lead to the loss of their employment, the breakdown of family relationships and more.

The disqualification periods are already increased when a work licence is granted and this is, in our view, sufficient penalty.

Your Thoughts?

The Government has asked for people to provide their opinions about the proposed changes to the law and we encourage as many people as possible to participate, regardless of whether you support or oppose the changes.

Also, feel free to leave a comment below letting us know what you think.

8 thoughts on “QLD Government Proposes Major Changes to DUI Laws”

  1. You can have all the laws and. restrictions you like and people will just ignor them..
    The only way to prevent drink driving is to educate them first, then. hit them hard financially for the first offence under 0.1 and then 6 months Gaol for repeat offenders..
    Anyone over 0.1 automatically gets 6 months Gaol no exceptions..
    More than 1 offence over 0.15 in 5 years, then its 3 years Gaol..
    Cancelling licences does nothing, and vehicle interlocks are easy to get around..

    1. Hi Lee,

      You’re right – the first thing we need to do is educate people. This should start in schools BEFORE they ever get licences and should continue while they’re on their Ls, Ps and Opens.

      Jail would certainly be a strong deterrent for lots of people but unfortunately when people are intoxicated, they can lose their ability to make reasonable decisions – a possible jail sentence would probably be the last thing on their mind. It would also place a huge strain on our already overcrowded prisons at a huge cost to the public – each prisoner costs $300 per day!

      I’m not saying that mandatory prison shouldn’t be an option – I’m simply saying that there may be some challenges with actually implementing it.

      ~ David.

      1. David, $300 a day seems pretty cheap compared to the lives of my family (or anyone else’s)..
        Besides, it’s only $300 a day because prisons these days are soft.
        Drunk or not, everyone knows you don’t drink and drive.. There is no grey area, it’s perfectly clear, you just don’t do it.. Arguing that they have “diminished responsibility” because they are intoxicated it just bullshit.. If they can physically operate a motor vehicle, and get caught driving it, they
        can suffer the consequences..

    2. Fuck me Lee. You’re extremely harsh. In some countries you can legally drive up to 0.08 (United Kingdom). You want to imprison people for an extra 0.02. Im glad you are not a judge and have no say over other peoples lives. You have no concept of adequate justice or reasonable deterrance. I take solace in the fact your opinions are confined to the internet and will never be actted upon.

      1. Ryan Harvey
        Extremely harsh?? No it’s not..
        Loosing half your Family to the actions of a drunk driver Is Extremeley harsh.. 6 Months in jail is a breeze by comparison!
        I get that everyone makes mistakes, hence the fine for first time offence and a low range reading.. If your stupid enough to make it a second time then suffer the consequences..
        Anyone with a high range reading Knows full well they are over the limit and shouldn’t be driving for any reason..

  2. The Big stick of the law…. Becuase that worked so well with the lock out laws. How about we look at the root causes and work back from there instead of penalising people and putting them in the same spiral! Isolation of people who choose Alcohol as their drug of choice for self-medication also having a loss of job won’t help!

    A work license MUST be maintained.

    We need to spend the money upfront to solve the problem. Stop putting a used band-aid of the problem. Most Drunks are self-medicating. Help them out of the situation don’t force them down further. The Interlock should be placed on the vehicle for free. I want to know that anyone who is prone to drink drive doesn’t have the choice. It’s a safety concern for other drives. It should just be something that is done. No choice and at no cost to ensure everyone gets one, with the inability to sell the car until either the cost is refunded, there is a mechanically advised issue or the limit lifted. This would mean the Drunk part is no longer an issue for society and people can perform all the task necessary to have a normal life.

    A loss of license is massive. It needs to be a last resort, for all offences. Community service first!

  3. How do we let the government know we don’t agree with these changes? I’ve been to qld gov website and can’t find anything!

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