Drinking and driving

If you are going to drink, then find an alternative way to get home rather than driving.

Research indicates that driving ability is impaired after consuming any level of alcohol.

For further information about drinking and its impact on your ability to drive see the New Zealand Transport Agency website.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

There are two ways of assessing the alcohol limit for driving:

  • Breath testing measures the number of micrograms of alcohol (mcgs) per litre of breath.

  • Blood testing measures the number of milligrams of alcohol (mgs) per 100 millilitres (mls) of blood.

Although the measures appear different, they are essentially the same. They both measure the same level of alcohol for drink driving purposes.

Breath testing is used for both screening and evidential purposes. Blood testing can be used as a check on the accuracy of the breath testing. The Police can require a blood test if the person refuses to do a breath test. 

Current legal limits

  • Drivers under 20 years - zero.
    The legal drink drive limit for drivers under 20 years of age is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of zero. For further information go to the Ministry of Transport website.

  • Drivers over 20 years - 400mcg breath or 80mg blood.
    The legal drink drive limit for drivers 20 years and over is 400mcg for breath and 80mg for blood. From 10 September 2012, a ‘zero alcohol’ licence sanction can be applied to drivers by the courts. For further information go to the Ministry of Transport website.

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