Alcohol interlock devices are provided by Smart Start Interlocks

Sober Check was the exclusive distributor for Smart Start Inc. (the leading alcohol interlock providers) from 2010 onwards.

We worked extensively with government in getting the law changed to mandate alcohol interlock devices for repeat drink drivers — changing behaviour and keeping the roads safer for all.

This involved setting up an extensive network of auto-electricians around the country to install and service. This network covers from Kaitaia to Invercargill, and everywhere in between.

In 2016, Minister Craig Foss announced that the interlock legislation covering this would be changing.

Installation of alcohol interlocks changed from being discretionary, to being mandatory for repeat drink drivers.
This covers people who have been charged with drink driving twice or more within the previous five years, or twice over the limit on their first time.

In 2017, this was split off into a separate company: Smart Start Interlocks — separating drinking from driving.
Since then, over 10,000 drink drive attempts have been prevented!

You contact Smart Start Interlocks on:

If you’ve been sentenced to an alcohol interlock, we recommend you call the Smart Start Interlocks team on 0800 002 182. They are experienced at discussing the particulars of your situation, and giving you the information you need to get to the next stage of your sentence.

Voluntary alcohol interlocks are also common. These are useful where you are afraid that you, or someone else, is at risk of driving while under the influence.
Installing an alcohol interlock in your vehicle makes this physically impossible.
It is also a great way to retrain behaviour that has been learnt over many years — changing “have a drink, go for a drive” to “have a drink, try to go for a drive, ask someone else for a ride”.

Alternately, if you’re after an alcohol breathalyser for personal use, we’d recommend the Lifeloc FC10 breathalyser or the DriveSafe exec breathalyser.

Picture of an alcohol interlock device

Guide to Staying Safe While Conducting a Drug Test

Resource from the Past

We sent this guide out to customers in March 2020, right in the midst of the first lockdown. The urgency has abated now, but Covid-19 is still a consideration and alert levels can change at any time.
If this happens, we hope this guide will be useful!

Before a Drug Test

> Remove excess items from the testing environment.

Remove unnecessary items from the room to prevent needing to wipe them down after each test. Consider removing magazines, books, extra chairs, waiting room tables, etc.

> Place disposable sheets on surfaces.

Use absorbent spill sheets to cover areas where test devices will be sitting during the course of the test. These will catch and retain liquid, for disposal after the test is completed.

➝ Use the Sober Check Spill Sheets, available in packs of 10 from Sober Check.

> Put disposable gloves on.

Use a new pair of disposable gloves with each test. Ensure the disposable gloves are certified to prevent microbial and chemical penetration.

> Check the donor is safe to proceed with the test.

Have a conversation with the donor before proceeding with testing – ask them if they:
● Are experiencing flu-like symptoms (high temperature, sore throat, cough, runny nose) AND
● Have been in contact with anyone diagnosed with, or in quarantine for, Covid-19, or
● Have been in countries with high levels of Covid-19 transmission recently.
Place a sign on the door asking the donor not to proceed if they have a combination of the above.
If these are a risk factor, contact the company requesting the test and coordinate the next steps with them.

During a Drug Test

> Don’t touch your eyes or face with unwashed hands at any point while testing.

Covid-19 transmission occurs mostly through the mouth, nose or eyes. Don’t touch your face to avoid possible infection.
Keep a box of tissues nearby to use if you need to touch your face.

> Ask the donor to carry out as much of the collection process as possible.

Consider which parts of the collection process you can ask the donor to do, to reduce contact: e.g. selecting the test device, opening the packet, collecting the sample, potentially even running the test depending on the difficulty of this.

> Maintain a reasonable but safe distance between yourself and the donor where possible.

Increased distance lessens the chances of infection. However, Covid-19 can travel up to 4.5 metres from an infected person, so it’s important to take other precautions.

After a Drug Test

> Wipe surfaces with an antiviral wipe.

Covid-19 can last on surfaces for up to 3 days, so it’s important surfaces are wiped down with an antiviral wipe after each test. Consider doorknobs, desk tops, sinks, tap handles, soap dispensers, toilet seats, pens, and other surfaces the client may have been in contact with.

> Dispose of used tests, gloves, sheets and wipes responsibly and safely.

Use a separate rubbish bag for used tests, gloves, spill sheets and antiviral wipes. Seal this bag after testing is finished, and discard.

> Wash your hands with soap and water.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after a test. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

Announcement from Minister Craig Foss

Minister Craig Foss has recently announced that alcohol interlocks will be mandatory for all repeat drink drivers and any first time offenders that are twice over the old drink drive limit.

This is a great announcement as alcohol interlocks mean that you can’t physically start your car with any alcohol on your breath – safer roads for us all!

Visit Smart Start Interlocks to learn more.

Addiction knows no socioeconomic bounds

In fact, researchers believe addiction is about 50 per cent genetic predisposition. And the other 50 per cent?

It’s certainly not determined by material wealth. Addiction knows no socio-economic bounds: 10 per cent of teachers, 10 per cent of plumbers, and 10 per cent of CEOs have an addiction.

September 2021 update:

Recent research indicates that drug usage amongst older adults is rising.

  • 40% of New Zealanders aged 50+ are hazardous drinkers
  • 13% in this age group use cannabis
  • Around 30% are taking medications that interact with alcohol