NSW passes tougher drink driving penalties

The new laws come into force from the end of 2018.

New South Wales has passed revised drink driving legislation, hitting drivers with harsher penalties for ‘low-range’ offences.

Under the new laws, low-range offences will be met with a $561 fine and instant, roadside three-month license loss. The same penalties will also apply to first-time ‘drug presence’ offenders.

Beyond low-level offences (0.05-0.07 BAC), mid-range offenders (0.08-0.149 BAC) will be forced to fit an alcohol interlock in their cars. High-risk, repeat offenders face vehicle impound or licence plate confiscation.

“The 0.05 limit has been in place in NSW for almost 38 years. Today is about driving home to the community that there are no more excuses,” said Melinda Pavey, NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight.

“The message to the community is powerful. Have a Plan B. Because if you drink drive, you will be caught, and you will lose your licence.”

The new laws come into force at the end of 2018. Although they’re tougher than the existing New South Wales rules, the revised laws aren’t quite as harsh as those in Victoria.

Drivers caught with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.10 instantly lose their license for six months, are forced to complete a behaviour change program, and fit an alcohol interlock to their car.