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Find out how to obtain an alcohol interlock licence, how to get an alcohol interlock device fitted to your vehicle and how to exit the alcohol interlock programme.

Step 1: period of disqualification

If you are convicted by the courts (under section 65A of the Land Transport Act 1998) for driving offences involving alcohol, you will receive a three-month alcohol interlock disqualification. Any licence card you may have held before your disqualification is cancelled and you will not be entitled to a limited licence.

At the end of the three-month alcohol interlock disqualification, you are not entitled to drive until you have applied for and been issued with an alcohol interlock licence. Even then, you will only be entitled to drive vehicles fitted with an approved alcohol interlock device.

If you have any other disqualifications or suspensions, you will have to wait for them to end as well before you can be issued with an alcohol interlock licence.

Step 2: obtaining an alcohol interlock licence

After any disqualifications and/or suspensions have ended, you can apply to reinstate your licence at any driver licensing agent. You will then be issued with an alcohol interlock licence. 

Find out how to get your licence reinstated

You will need to follow step 3 before you start to drive again.

You can apply to renew, replace or reinstate your alcohol interlock licence. However, you are not entitled to get a limited licence or to obtain any new licence classes or endorsements. This means if you only hold a restricted licence, then you cannot obtain a full licence until you no longer have an alcohol interlock licence.

Step 3: install an alcohol interlock

An alcohol interlock is an electronic device that prevents the use of a vehicle if alcohol is detected in a breath sample.

There are two approved providers of alcohol interlocks. These are:

Both providers have approved installers located nationwide. Contact the approved provider for the location of your nearest approved installer.

Take your alcohol interlock licence to any approved installer, where you can arrange the lease and installation of an alcohol interlock.

You will need to pay an installation fee and a monthly lease fee to the installer. These fees may vary. If you hold a current community services card, you pay a reduced fee. The approved provider/installer can advise you on the fees payable.

Driving with the alcohol interlock

The driver breathes into the alcohol interlock before starting the vehicle. The alcohol interlock analyses the breath sample and if alcohol is detected the vehicle will not start.

Use of the interlock is not limited to just starting the vehicle. The driver is also required to provide a breath sample at random times when the vehicle is in use. Data relating to the vehicle use, alcohol readings and violations are recorded by the device.

Each month the vehicle must be taken to the installer for servicing and to have the data downloaded. Where the data indicates ongoing compliance with the conditions of the alcohol interlock programme, then this period may be increased to two-monthly. If the vehicle is not taken to an installer for a scheduled service and data download, then the interlock device will prevent the vehicle from being started until the installer services the alcohol interlock.

Step 4: approval to exit the alcohol interlock licence stage of the programme

After you have held your alcohol interlock licence for at least 12 months, you can apply to the NZ Transport Agency to exit this stage of the programme.

The Transport Agency will grant approval if you meet either of the following criteria:

Option 1:

  • you have held a current alcohol interlock licence for at least 12 months, and
  • you have not committed any violations in the 6-month period immediately preceding your request to exit.

Option 2:

  • you have held a current alcohol interlock licence for at least 12 months, and
  • you have not committed any violations in the 3-month period immediately preceding your request to exit, and
  • you have successfully completed a drug and alcohol assessment at a Ministry of Health approved assessment centre.

Find an approved drug and alcohol assessment centre in your area

When you are ready to exit the alcohol interlock stage of the programme, call our contact centre on 0800 822 422 to find out more about the exit process.

Violations

Breaching any of the alcohol interlock licence conditions defined in the Land Transport (Alcohol Interlock) Regulations 2012 is a violation.

This means that if you do any of the following during the period being assessed (ie three months or six months), you will not be granted approval to exit the alcohol interlock stage:

  • tamper with the alcohol interlock device
  • fail an initial or rolling retest administered by the device because of your breath alcohol level
  • fail to do two or more rolling retests
  • start or attempt to start the vehicle without an initial breath test (ie by pushing or hot wiring the vehicle)
  • fail to present the vehicle for two or more scheduled inspections/services.

Once the Transport Agency has granted approval, you move to step 5.

Step 5: obtaining a zero alcohol licence

After approval to exit the alcohol interlock licence stage of the programme, you can apply to have a zero alcohol licence issued. 

Find out how to get a zero alcohol licence

You are still subject to the conditions of your alcohol interlock licence (ie you can only drive vehicles fitted with an alcohol interlock device) until you have applied for and been issued with your zero alcohol licence.

Step 6: removal of the alcohol interlock from your vehicle

Take your zero alcohol licence to the approved installer. Presentation of your zero alcohol licence to the installer lets them know that you are approved to exit the alcohol interlock stage of the programme. The installer will then remove the alcohol interlock from your vehicle.

After the alcohol interlock has been removed from your vehicle, you will still be subject to a zero alcohol limit for the three years that you hold your zero alcohol licence. This means that if you have even one drink and drive, you can be charged with drink-driving and disqualified.

Step 7: issue of a standard licence

You will need to hold your zero alcohol licence for three years, after which time it expires. You can then apply to reinstate your licence at any driver licensing agent and be issued with a standard licence. 

Getting your licence issued

You can apply to reinstate your driver licence at any driver licensing agent.

You will need to:

If you were disqualified for more than 12 months, you will also need to pass the appropriate tests (and pay the test fees) to regain the licence class(es) you held previously. 

More information about getting your licence back

Commonly asked questions

Can I supply my own alcohol interlock?

No. If you are subject to the conditions of an alcohol interlock licence, then you must use an approved device, from an approved provider and it must be fitted by an approved installer.

If I have an alcohol interlock device fitted, can someone else drive my vehicle?

Yes, another licensed driver can drive your vehicle but they must comply with all of the alcohol interlock requirements, eg they must complete a breath check to start the vehicle. Their results and violations will be recorded on the alcohol interlock.

Can I keep the alcohol interlock afterwards?

Yes. Check with the approved provider who can advise you on the options for continuing to lease or buying outright the alcohol interlock.

Download Factsheet 58: Alcohol interlocks [PDF, 57 KB]

Overview of the alcohol interlock programme

Maximum width is 2.5 m, or 1.25 m from centre line.

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