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Police in Oamaru yesterday said they were "appalled" that a 60-year-old Hampden man gave a reading of 1550mcg when breathalysed.
Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy said the man was stopped at 5pm on State Highway 1 in Hampden.
The man was nearly four times the legal limit of 400mcg, which was "disgraceful and extremely appalling", Snr Sgt McCoy said.
Although the man had been driving slowly, he was "a danger to all road users", and was charged with drink-driving.
To reach an alcohol level four times the legal limit it is estimated an average man would have to drink a 750ml bottle of whisky in less than an hour, and that would put him at risk of blood poisoning.
Between July 2011 and June 2012, 1179 people were convicted of drink-driving in the Southern police district, with the highest breath-alcohol level recorded being 1671mcg.
The highest reading over the past 12 months was 1884mcg, recorded in the North Shore-Waitakere police district.
The highest breath-alcohol reading recorded by police in Otago was 2000mcg, by a Dunedin woman in 2010.