10 Jul 2008

Govt considers ignition locks for drink-drivers

7:03 pm on 10 July 2008

People who repeatedly drink and drive could be breath tested every time they try to start their car, if a Government investigation into alcohol ignition locks shows they are effective.

Almost 130 people died on the roads in 2007 in alcohol-related crashes, according to Ministry of Transport figures.

The ministry says the locks, which carry a device similar to a breathalyser, could be installed in the dashboard of the cars of repeat offenders. The device would prevent a vehicle from starting until the driver has given a satisfactory breath test.

However, Transport Safety Minister Harry Duynhoven says he will not make a snap decision on whether convicted drink-drivers should be made to use alcohol ignition locks.

Mr Duynhoven says there is a possibility the devices could work well - but the real change has to be in the attitudes of people who choose to drink and drive.

Similar systems overseas have fallen foul of offenders asking their children to take the breathalyser test or using another person's car.

The Ministry of Transport and Department of Corrections are investigating whether the locks would work as part of sentencing and are expected to report back in September.