First-time drink drivers who record a blood alcohol reading between 0.05 and 0.069 will lose their driving licence for three months under sweeping changes that will see Victoria having the strongest drink and drugged driving laws in Australia.

From Monday April 30, anyone caught drinking and driving will also face having a mandatory alcohol interlock fitted for their vehicle for a minimum of six months. Licence suspensions for drivers detected with illicit substances in their system will increase from three to six months and from six to 12 months for repeat offenders.

“We make no apologies for stamping out this dangerous behaviour – and these new changes will get dangerous drink and drug drivers off our roads,” said Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan. “These laws send a strong message that there’s no excuse for drink or drug driving, which puts the safety of the other drivers and the wider community at risk.”

The Victorian Government says up to 3,000 full licence holders are caught driving with a blood alcohol reading between 0.05 and 0.069 BAC each year. From Monday, all drunk drivers will be required to complete a mandatory behaviour change program to address the underlying causes of their dangerous behaviour and may receive referral for professional support and assistance.

The changes are part of the Government’s $1.1 billion “Towards Zero” strategy, a joint plan by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) and VicRoads to reduce the number of lives lost on Victoria’s roads to 200 or fewer and reduce serious injuries by 15 percent by 2020.