The mandatory alcohol ignition interlock sentence in New Zealand

Alcohol harms Drink-driving recidivist drink driving Sentencing New Zealand

The Automobile Association Research Foundation (AARF) wants to understand how many drink drivers are appearing before the courts that are eligible for an interlock sentence and what proportion of those are being given such a sentence. The AARF is also interested in whether certain courts are sentencing high or low proportions of offenders to an interlock. If eligible offenders are not being sentenced to an interlock, we want to understand what the justification for those are. Researching Impaired Driving in New Zealand (RIDNZ) were contracted to conduct research to answer these questions.

This research reveals that:

  • From July to December 2018 there were 2,056 offenders who were eligible for an Alcohol Interlock Order (AIO)  
  • For the months July to December 52 per cent of those eligible for an AIO received the order with 48 per cent of eligible offenders not receiving the AIO mandatory sentence
  • The under 19’s age group represents the lowest percentage of AIOs issued to those who were eligible
  • No real impact on percentages of use whether other offending was considered in the sentence
  • 28 per cent of those eligible to receive the AIO had a monetary outcome (fine) only
  • The Justice Service area of Taranaki/Manganui has the largest percentage of those receiving an AIO who were eligible
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