Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) refers to the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. An alcohol breath tester, commonly called a breathalyzer, is the device used by police officers to check for BAC. The BAC of 0.05% indicates that there is 0.05g of alcohol in every 100ml of blood. In New Zealand, this is the legal alcohol driving limit and your BAC level must not go beyond this limit to avoid a DUI conviction. Suppose you are caught driving above the limit. In that case, the consequences might include losing your license immediately, paying fines, having to set an alcohol interlock device or be imprisoned. Drivers must understand the legal boundaries that are applied to them. Ignorance of the law is never a legitimate legal defense.
If you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer on suspicion of going beyond the legal alcohol driving limit, the officer may ask you to breathe into a breathalyzer to check any alcohol content in your bloodstream. If you drink regularly, you should be aware of your BAC level every time before you drive. Here at BACtrack, we sell personal breathalyzers that are perfect for you. These tiny and portable gadgets display the user’s BAC, either directly on the device or via a smartphone app. Furthermore, some applications allow you to dial an Uber or contact a companion to drive for you directly from the app.
Legal Alcohol Driving Limit
The approved New Zealand Road code is intended to assist you in becoming a responsible driver. The road code section provides an easy-to-understand introduction to New Zealand traffic legislation and safe driving practices. In both your theoretical and practical driving examinations, you will be assessed on this material. It covers car owners’ legal obligations as well as the legal alcohol driving limit.
The legal alcohol driving limit in New Zealand for drivers aged 20 and above is 250 micrograms (mcg) of alcohol/liter of breath and the blood alcohol limit is 50 milligrams (mg) per 100 milliliters (ml) of blood. For the age under 20, the alcohol limit is zero. If the alcohol level in your breath or blood exceeds certain limits, you must not drive.
Drinking Under the Influence (DUI) is a major problem in New Zealand. According to the Ministry of Transport, alcohol is the cause of approximately 30% of road traffic crashes. These accidents have resulted in over 1,100 deaths and 5,300 serious injuries during the last ten years. Law enforcement officers in New Zealand have the authority to stop drivers at any moment to test a person’s breath to check if it is within the legal alcohol driving limit.
A portable gadget is used to perform a passive breath test. If alcohol is discovered, a breath screening test will be required. When the results of this test reveal that the individual has a high alcohol level, they will be requested to do an evidentiary breath test or a blood test. If the driver refuses or is unable to perform an evidentiary breath test, an evidential blood test will be necessary. If the evidential breath test reveals more than 400 micrograms (mcg) of alcohol per liter of breath, the user might choose to have a blood test.
According to the 2014 Amendment Act, a blood test result of 51 to 80 milligrams of alcohol/100 milliliters of blood will result in an infringement charge of up to NZ$700 and 50 demerit points. A more than 0.08% findings will still result in criminal prosecution and may result in the same penalties listed above.
AVOID A PENALTY OR LICENSE SUSPENSION
There is no ultimate safe alcohol intake level for responsible driving. Even just a few drinks will impact your driving ability. The more you consume, the higher your BAC and the greater risk of being involved in a car accident. If you want to drink, it is best to plan alternate transportation or lodging ahead of schedule. You can consider staying at a friend’s house, taking public transportation or a ride-sharing service, or appoint a designated driver to guarantee your safe return home and always remember not to drive beyond the legal alcohol driving limit.