Alcohol Interlock use in New Zealand (Ongoing)

The AA Research Foundation (AARF) is interested in understanding how successful the new mandatory alcohol interlock legislation is.

This amended legislation, which came into force on 1 July 2018, requires judges to sentence high-risk drink drivers to an alcohol interlock.

Research Provider

  • Gerald Waters - Reducing lmpaired Driving in New Zealand (RIDNZ)

Project Manager

  • Dylan Thomsen – AA Motoring Affairs


In late 2018, the AA Research Foundation received the first quarterly report, provided by the NZ Transport Agency, on interlock uptake for high level and repeat drink drivers.

It was pleasing to see that, compared to before the sentence became mandatory, interlock sentencing has increased. Consequently there has also an increase in interlock licences being issued and interlocks installed – but there are significant decreases between each stage of the process.

There are several steps following an interlock sentence that someone needs to follow, with the final step being to have the interlock installed in their vehicle.

There are costs involved and subsidies that some people can apply for to cover the cost.

While it is early days, there is an awareness of the risk that interlock sentencing might not transpire into interlocks installed in all sentenced people’s vehicles.

Research Method

AARF felt there was an opportunity to better understand the steps in the process to see if there are common issues holding back progress to interlock installation.

The research has involved conversations with staff from the Ministry of Justice, NZ Transport Agency and other relevant Government departments.

It has also looked at interlock experiences in other countries and highlighted issues and solutions relevant to the New Zealand system.

Research Report

A draft report on the research was received  in the first quarter of 2019, and will be published on this webpage shortly.

AA position on drink driving

Read about the AA's views on drink driving and use of alcohol interlocks:

The AA's Election Calls included calling for at least 5,000 high-risk drink drivers to have an alcohol interlock installed each year

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