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New Drink Driving Laws

Changes to drink-driving limits from 1 December

What are the new drink-driving limits?

From 1 December 2014 the alcohol limit for drivers aged 20 years and over lowered from 400mcg of alcohol per litre of breath to 250mcg. The blood alcohol limit lowered from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (0.08), to 50mg (0.05).

For drivers under 20, the limit stays at zero.

The law says you must not drive if the amount of alcohol in your breath or blood exceeds these limits.

How much will I be able to drink and legally drive?

There are many factors which will determine how quickly alcohol is absorbed into your system, including body type, gender, weight and food intake. Even small amounts of alcohol affect your judgement, and the ability to drive safely begins to deteriorate after even one drink.

Guidance from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) indicates that most adults may be able to drink two standard drinks over two hours and are likely to remain under the new drink-driving limits for adults.

A standard drink contains 10g of pure alcohol. This is approximately to equivalent to 330ml of beer, 100ml of wine or 32ml of straight spirits, containing 4, 12.5 and 40 percent alcohol respectively. In New Zealand, the label on the packaging of an alcoholic drink must state the approximate number of standard drinks it contains.


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