Australia’s National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 envisions greater use of vehicle technologies in addressing illegal behaviours, including drink driving, as ‘an important opportunity for road safety improvement’ (p.87).

The Strategy proposes various steps to making greater use of alcohol ignition interlocks a means of contributing to future reductions in the country’s road toll. To inform potential expansion of interlock usage, it was deemed helpful to identify considered best practice components of existing alcohol interlock schemes (AIS).

An international literature review was conducted, looking at the influence of mandatory versus voluntary alcohol interlock schemes in offenders’ subsequent driving and broader rehabilitation, and the emergent use of interlocks as preventative measures in occupational driving contexts. Additionally, the review documented alcohol interlock schemes operational effectiveness in relation to first offenders versus repeat offenders, timing of program admittance and exit, program monitoring, participant support programs and problems experienced in the implementation of alcohol interlock schemes. Evaluations of road safety outcome effectiveness for alcohol interlock schemes in Canada, USA, Sweden, Australia, as well as meta-analyses of evaluations were also studied.

The paper reports on the literature review yielding a substantial list of considered best practice components of effective alcohol interlock schemes, ranging from the various broad contexts where interlock use can be usefully encouraged or mandated, down to specific operational considerations. Identifying these best practice components affords assistance to any efforts to progress the National Strategy’s vision for the future deployment of alcohol interlocks.