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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’re convicted by the courts (under section 65AC of the Land Transport Act 1998) for driving offences involving alcohol, you’ll be given an alcohol interlock disqualification of 28 days or more. Any driver licence card you held before your disqualification is cancelled and you won’t be entitled to a limited licence.

At the end of the alcohol interlock disqualification, you’re still disqualified from driving until you’ve been issued with an alcohol interlock licence.

If you have any other disqualifications or suspensions, you’ll have to wait for them to end as well before you can get 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’ll be issued with an alcohol interlock licence, which means you’ll only be entitled to drive vehicles fitted with an approved alcohol interlock device. 

Find out more about getting an alcohol interlock licence

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

Step 3: install an alcohol interlock

An alcohol interlock is a breath testing device wired into a vehicle’s starting system. Before the vehicle can start, the driver must blow into the device. If any level of alcohol is detected on the driver’s breath, the vehicle won’t start.

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

They both have approved installers all over New Zealand. Find an installer near you, and then contact your chosen provider to find out more about arranging for the lease and installation of an alcohol interlock.

You’ll need to pay an installation fee and a monthly lease fee to the installer. These fees may vary. The approved provider/installer can tell you the fees payable.

The NZ Transport Agency may grant you subsidy assistance for some alcohol interlock costs if your financial circumstances qualify you for a subsidy.

Find out if you're eligible for an alcohol interlock subsidy

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 won’t 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. 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

When you can exit the alcohol interlock programme will depend on when you were given an alcohol interlock sentence. 

  • If you were sentenced before 1 July 2018, you’ll need to have held your alcohol interlock licence for at least 12 months before you can apply to exit this stage of the programme.
  • If you were sentenced on or after 1 July 2018*, you’ll need to have had an alcohol interlock device installed in your vehicle for at least 12 months before you can apply to exit this stage of the programme.
    *Note: if your alcohol interlock sentence replaces a previous indefinite disqualification that hadn’t been ended, you must meet option 2 below.

If you meet the above criteria, the Transport Agency will grant approval if you meet either of the following criteria:

Option 1:

  • You haven’t committed any violations in the 6-month period immediately preceding your request to exit.

Option 2:

  • You haven’t committed any violations in the 3-month period immediately preceding your
    request to exit, and

  • You’ve 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’re ready to exit the alcohol interlock stage of the programme, take your vehicle to the installer for a final reading and then call us straight away on 0800 822 422 to start the exit process.

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

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.

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 more about getting a zero alcohol licence

You’re still subject to the conditions of your alcohol interlock licence (ie you can only drive vehicles fitted with an alcohol interlock device) until you’ve 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 provider/installer. Your zero alcohol licence lets the installer know that you’re 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’ll 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 then drive, you can be charged with drink driving and disqualified.

Step 7: issue of a standard licence

You’ll need to hold your zero alcohol licence for three years, and then it will expire. 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 for your driver licence at any driver licensing agent.

You'll need to:

If you were disqualified for more than 12 months, you'll 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, provided and 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 any violations will be recorded on your 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.

Can I apply for a different type of licence while I have an alcohol interlock licence?

You can apply to renew, replace or reinstate your alcohol interlock licence. However, you’re not entitled to get a limited licence or to get any new licence classes or endorsements. This means if you only hold a restricted licence, then you can’t get a full licence until your alcohol interlock licence has ended.

Download Factsheet 58: Alcohol interlocks [PDF, 150 KB]

Overview of the alcohol interlock programme

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