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Road Safety Act 2006

DRINK-DRIVING etc.

Section 15: Alcohol ignition interlocks

52.This section inserts into the RTOA new sections 34D, 34E, 34F, 34G and 41B.

53.Its effect is to give courts the power in certain circumstances to offer offenders the opportunity to participate, at their own expense, in an "alcohol ignition interlock programme". Where an offender agrees to this, his overall period of disqualification may be reduced. The provision applies to a person who is convicted of a relevant drink driving offence on a second occasion in a period of ten years and is to be disqualified for no less than two years. The period on the programme must be at least twelve months but must not exceed a half of the original unreduced disqualification period. This programme may not be offered to someone for whom an order is made under section 34A (drink drive offenders rehabilitation order).

54.The alcohol ignition interlock programme requires the offender to comply with certain conditions. These include elements of education and counselling, but a central feature is that the offender may drive only a motor vehicle that is fitted with an alcohol interlock device that is designed to prevent the vehicle being driven until a specimen of breath has been given in which the proportion of alcohol does not exceed a specified amount. If a person interferes with the device to try to prevent it working he commits a new offence, as does someone other than the offender who gives, or attempts to give, a specimen of breath to enable the offender to drive the vehicle.

55.Any failure on the part of the offender to comply with the conditions of the programme will result in restoration of the full original disqualification period. The interlock device will be type approved by the Secretary of State and will be set at 9 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, but that may be changed by regulations.

56.Provision is made for a "certificate of failing fully to participate" in a programme. In the event of such a certificate being issued the offender must be notified and given an opportunity to appeal to the supervising court. If he makes an appeal the court may allow him to continue on the programme until the outcome of the appeal is known.

57.Provision is made for approval of programmes by the Secretary of State, or, as respects Wales, the National Assembly for Wales, and, as with courses for drink drive rehabilitation this covers guidance and arrangements for appeal to the Transport Tribunal for an applicant whose approval is denied or withdrawn.

58.The Secretary of State may vary by regulations the period of ten years that determines whether a previous offence is relevant, the minimum disqualification period before an offender becomes eligible for the programme, the minimum period of the programme and the maximum proportion of the original disqualification period that may be served on a programme.

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