Foss welcomes lower alcohol limit

  • Craig Foss

Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss says the lower alcohol limit for adult drivers will help make our roads safer and save lives.

The limit for motorists aged 20 years and over today lowers from 400mcg to 250mcg of alcohol per litre of breath. The blood alcohol limit lowers from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

“The lower limit will save lives and prevent about 64 injuries per year, with a reduction in social costs of about $200 million over 10 years,” Mr Foss says.

“The 2011 introduction of a zero alcohol limit for drivers under 20 has significantly reduced the number of drink-driving offences. We expect the new adult limit to do the same.”

The Ministry of Transport’s latest Public Attitudes to Road Safety survey indicates the majority of New Zealanders support the lower limit.

“What is even more heartening is that many people understand even a small amount of alcohol can affect driving, with just over 50 per cent saying they never drink before getting behind the wheel,” Mr Foss says.

“The summer months are a busy time for many people, especially over Christmas and New Year.  I encourage anyone drinking alcohol to plan ahead – take public transport, a taxi or designate a sober driver.

“The lower alcohol limit will be backed up by an increased police presence on our roads.  Anyone can be stopped and breath-tested anytime, anywhere.

“Officials are currently looking at the wider issue of impairment with reviews on drug-driving, rehabilitation, alcohol interlocks and related sanctions. I look forward to the results of those reviews in mid-2015.”

Editor's notes:

The Land Transport Amendment Act (No 2) 2014 creates a new offence for drivers with a breath alcohol level of 251 to 400mcg.  The penalty is a $200 fine and 50 demerit points.

The fine rises to $700 and 50 demerit points for those who refuse or fail to undergo an evidential breath test.

Drivers who accumulate 100 or more demerit points within two years will have their licence suspended for three months.

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