New laws to be introduced in Victoria from August 1 will enable police to impound or wheel-clamp the vehicles of first-time drink-driving offenders who blow 0.1 in roadside breath testing.
Police will have the power to impound or immobilise the offender's vehicle for up to 30 days, even if it does not belong to them.
The new penalties will also carry a fine of $627, any related towing costs, and the risk of the offender losing their licence for 10 months.
Speaking with radio station 3AW today, Victorian Police Assistant Commissioner, Robert Hill, said the new laws could see thousands more vehicles impounded, or, in the case of Nunawading and Brimbank, wheel-clamped.
Data for 2013 and 2014 reveals that of the 13,000 people who are detected driving in Victoria while affected by alcohol, around 3500 offenders are first-time offenders with a blood-alcohol reading greater than 0.1.
The legal limit in Victoria, for fully licensed drivers, is half that, at .05.
Police Minister Wade Noonan told the station’s breakfast program that he believes the new laws will be welcomed by the motoring public.
"We have got to a point where Victorians would have little tolerance for people blowing 0.1 over understand our drink drivers laws have been in place for a long time,” he said.
"There's little tolerance for people who are getting behind the wheel, quite frankly they know they are over the limit."
He said the new laws, although tough, are “designed to send a very strong message” to those considering getting behind the wheel after too many drinks.
The new laws follow the bipartisan approval of the new Road Safety Amendment Bill 2014 last year, dubbed the “cocktail laws” in reference to its aim of stopping motorists from drinking and driving.
Victoria’s new Andrews Government has also announced that it will roll out 10 new drink and drug buses in the months ahead.