BRISBANE - Drink-drivers will be forced to pay to have breath testing devices fitted to their cars under new Queensland laws.

Premier Anna Bligh said the legislation would be in force by Christmas to mandate the use of the technology for those convicted of high-level or repeat drink-driving or of dangerous driving while drunk. The condition would be attached to their licence for 12 months once it was regained.

The devices, known as "alcohol interlocks", are an in-vehicle breath test connected to the ignition that only allows the car to be started if a breath test records no alcohol. Units cost around A$2000 ($2600).

Bligh said up to 8000 drivers a year would find they would not legally be able to drive if a car did not have an interlock installed.

The opposition criticised the government for not bringing in alcohol interlocks earlier.

There were 71 alcohol-related road deaths last year in Queensland.