What is the Legal Limits of Alcohol in NZ
03 November, 2021
When it comes to road safety, New Zealand takes its laws seriously. The leading causes of road accidents every year is overspeeding, drink driving, and inattention. To drive when one is not in the suitable physical and mental condition; or is recklessly disregarding road rules and safety is akin to a criminal offense in New Zealand. That is why police patrols the road, and you may be randomly stopped for an inspection. Police will check you for sobriety through an alcohol breath test through a breathalyser. It is essential to know what are the legal limits of alcohol beforehand to see if you are within driving limits or not.
Legal Limits of Alcohol
The legal limits of alcohol in New Zealand will vary on two major factors: age and Breath Alcohol Concentration (BAC). BAC is determined by the amount of alcohol in your system. BAC can be measured through a simple breath test or blood test. You will face legal consequences if you are caught driving with a BAC beyond the allowable limits.
According to the Land Transport Act 1998, the legal limit of alcohol for a person under twenty years old is zero. It means that you cannot drink at all if you are to drive after. If you want to enjoy and drink, you may have to ask a sober friend to drive for you or call a cab. Meanwhile, the legal limits for drivers twenty years and older are a breath alcohol content of 250 mg per litre of breath or 50 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. Anything more than that is already a violation and is punishable by law.
There are corresponding charges if you are caught driving beyond the legal limits of alcohol. An under-twenty person caught driving with an alcohol level of less than 150 mg per litre of breath; or less than 30 mg per 100 ml of blood can be fined and given fifty demerit points. More than the mentioned amount can result in disqualification from driving, given 50 demerit points, and either be fined or imprisoned. The charges for people twenty years old and above are also disqualifications from driving, fines, or imprisonment if caught driving with a BAC of 251 mg to 400 mg per litre of breath or 51 to 80 mg per 100 ml of blood.
Use a Breathalyser
When checking if you can still drive within the legal limits of alcohol, it is better to err on the side of caution. Prevention is better than risk. It is not enough to feel confident that you can handle driving despite drinking but get an accurate measurement of your BAC through a breathalyser.