48 hours with the-3

My 48 hours with the Alcohol Interlock Device: never again

This is a sponsored post for the TAC, however all views are absolutely my own.

As the slogan goes, “If you drink then drive, you’re a bloody idiot”.

It seems however, that many are willing to risk the label for an extra wine or beer, especially when it isn’t a ‘regular occurrance’ or as the other slogan goes, if they are ”only a little bit over’. So if role modelling good behaviour for our kids, keeping ourselves and others safe on the roads, or the threat of an idiot label weren’t enough to make people think twice before drinking and driving, I guarantee, this new campaign certainly will be.

With 5 sons who will one day be subjected to all manner of drivers on the roads and quite possibly be in the position themselves to choose between drinking and driving, this is obviously a concern for me and a message I am happy to spread.

Which is why I agreed to help the TAC spread the word about a new campaign to stop drink drivers getting on the road by, well, physically stopping them.

Here’s part of the brief:

As of October 1st 2014, all Victorians caught drink driving with a Blood Alcohol reading of .07 and above, will not only automatically lose their licence, but will now be subjected to the installation of an alcohol interlock device in their car for a minimum 6 months once their licence is renewed. Mandatory, no questions asked, no priors needed.

So what did they want me to do?

I had to have this interlock device installed in my car for 48 hours to get an understanding of exactly how this would affect the life of a busy mother and the repercussions it would have on my family as a whole.

Here are some of the observations from my 48 hours with an alcohol interlock device.

  • It took over 2 hours to install in my car, costs a minimum of $1400 and had this been a real life scenario, I would be heading back to the installer every month for a service and report that records every breath I take and every reading I make.
  • I had to practise quite a few times to get the ‘blowing’ into the interlock device right. It takes a big long breath.
  • I had to blow into the device every time I started the car or the engine simply wouldn’t start (In the mornings when it was a bit colder it also took longer to warm up).
  • Soon into my journey (usually between 5 and 10 minutes) I would hear a beeping sound. I would have to find a safe place to pull over and blow in to the device again. And again soon after that, and again soon after that, and so on.
  • I couldn’t drink any alcohol at all.
  • Sometimes finding a safe place to pull over was really annoying. I might be in a 3 lane highway and have to go off course into a service road thus losing time. Whilst you have 5 minutes to pull over before the horn starts going and the hazards start flashing, this time between retests could be quite stressful.
  • Did I say that driving around knowing it could beep at any time for a retest is really, really annoying?
  • It’s embarrassing. I had to park further away from my usual supermarket carpark, as I was afraid of pulling up next to someone and having to blow in to the device in front of people (Same scenario at the kinder drop off, sports practice, bakery, school car park).
  • Having your kids’ friends in the car is again not a great look. As a ‘test drive’ it was bad enough, but I wouldn’t enjoy having to listen to my kids explain to their friends why their mum had to keep pulling over to blow into a device.
  • The interlock device doesn’t care if you are running late for a basketball match.
  • If this was real, then the other car in our family would also have had to have a device installed, thus doubling the price and subjecting every driver in the family to the same rules of constantly blowing in to the device.
  • My previous knowledge of an alcohol interlock device was minimal I thought it was for those really bad offenders! The ones way over the limit or those that had been caught numerous times.
  • But the message needs to get out that this device will be installed on your car on the very first offence if you have a reading of .07 or above. Even those who haven’t had so much as a parking fine before. It is a mandatory consequence.



For people who like a glass of wine with dinner, a drink at a family barbeque or a glass of bubbles over lunch with friends, it doesn’t take much to send people over the limit. There are many factors that contribute to your blood alcohol level and so basically, it is certainly not something I am prepared to risk.

After 48 hours I was more than happy to have the device uninstalled. It is painful, annoying, embarrassing, expensive and time consuming……. all things that as a busy mother of 5, I definitely don’t need to be experiencing on a daily basis.

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This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Natalie Peck McNamara

    What an eye opening thing to do. The inconvenience of having a test machine installed would take its toll pretty quick. The worst part for me would be how embarrassed I would be in front of my children. I try to be such a good role model and this would be thrown in my face many times a day, causing me immense stress. Thanks for the review Martine .

    1. Martine Oglethorpe

      Thanks Natalie, I think the embarrassment would be one of the hardest things for me too. The inconvenience too though was majorly annoying!

  2. Darren

    great post Martine – definitely food for thought and different to what I thought it’d be like. Good work!

    1. Martine Oglethorpe

      Thanks Darren. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but it was certainly an eye opener!

  3. Lydia C. Lee

    I can’t drink much at all if I’m driving – I’ll have one glass over about 3 hours to feel comfortable (I’m actually probably ‘allowed’ more, but I get a little paranoid, so I figure it’s better to not be worrying about it). Or I just don’t drink at all….

    1. Martine Oglethorpe

      I think knowing what we are ‘allowed’ can be really difficult, so I am definitely sticking to the ‘better safe than sorry’ mantra.

  4. Well, that sounds hideous… and I must say it sounds over the top… the stopping to blow every 10 minutes sounds dreadful and a bit unnecessary really. Better just never to drive… better never to drink and drive!

    I had never heard of this before so a very interesting post indeed.

    1. Martine Oglethorpe

      It was pretty bad Seana. They do say if you are on really long journeys then it stretches the time out between retests, but as my trips are generally short bursts running the kids around this wasn’t really the case.

    1. Martine Oglethorpe

      Thanks Vanessa….yes definitely hard core, and not something I would enjoy on a regular basis!

  5. Mike

    5 kids? Must’ve got all your drinking done early to end up with that many!!

    1. Martine Oglethorpe

      Ha ha! Possibly…but it hasn’t stopped me from drinking altogether…

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