Lower drink-drive limits, which will come into force later
this year, will save lives, the NZ Transport Agency says.
Legislation lowering the adult drink-driving limits from
December 1 passed its third and final reading in Parliament
The Land Transport Amendment Bill 2013 lowers the adult
breath alcohol limit from 400mcg of alcohol per litre of
breath to 250mcg and cuts the blood alcohol limit from 80mg
of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg.
NZTA road safety director Ernst Zollner said the change would
save lives and prevent serious injuries, with more than 1500
deaths and 6700 serious injuries sustained in alcohol-related
crashes on New Zealand roads in the past 10 years.
"Drink-driving inflicts a huge amount of pain and suffering
on innocent road users, and this change sends a clear message
to those who would put others at risk by driving drunk," he
"Together with other recent changes including zero alcohol
limits for teens and new penalties for serious and repeat
drink-driving offenders this measure will make New Zealand
roads safer for everyone."
The lower blood alcohol limit also brought New Zealand law
into line with the limits already in place in the majority of
other OECD countries, Mr Zollner said.
The legislation also creates a new offence for drivers with a
breath alcohol level between 251-400mcg, resulting in
penalties of an infringement fee of $200 and 50 demerit
points. For those drivers who refuse or fail to undergo to an
evidential breath test, the infringement fee will rise to
$700 as well as 50 demerit points.
Drivers who accumulate 100 or more demerit points from
driving offences within two years receive a three month
driver's licence suspension.