Call For Lower Blood Alcohol Levels Grows


A poll finding that a majority of New Zealanders support reducing the adult blood-alcohol limit from 80mg to 50mg per 100ml has led to a chorus of support for such change today.

The Research NZ poll result supports a Ministry of Transport survey of public attitudes carried out last year.

Alcohol Healthwatch Director Rebecca Williams says allowing people to drive their cars at the current New Zealand limit is essentially legally endorsing intoxicated driving.
By reducing the level from .08 to .05, New Zealand will join over 20 other countries which already have a blood alcohol limit of .05, including Australia, Canada and 14 European countries.

“Lowering the blood alcohol limit could translate into saving between 15 and 30 lives a year and preventing between 320 and 686 injuries.

Green Party transport spokesperson, Gareth Hughes, thinks the transport minister is not pushing hard enough to lower the limit for adult drivers.
“According to Otago University public health expert, Jenny Connor, adult drivers are four times more likely to have a fatal crash with a blood-alcohol level of 80mg than 50mg,” said Mr Hughes. . Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol contributes to a third of all fatal crashes — 119 deaths and 572 serious injuries a year.

“The French Government achieved a 30 percent reduction in alcohol-related fatalities when it lowered its alcohol limit to 50mg.
“We do not need to wait for further research. New Zealanders have said they are ready for the internationally accepted limit, and ready to reduce our road toll. The Minister needs to act now.”




  1. Gareth says:

    In a follow up I’ve also passed on a challenge to the Minister.

    Recently Steven Joyce said he could drink three-quarters of a bottle of wine in 90 minutes and remain under the 80 milligram blood-alcohol limit, demonstrating how “ridiculous” the current alcohol limits were.

    He said he hadn’t put it to the test, but I’d like to challenge him to put it to the test with me.

    I’d like to suggest we go out and have a few glasses of wine and we’ll arrange to measure our levels at 50mg and 80mg and our abilities to drive at those levels.

  2. Su Yin Khoo says:

    I love this infographic from the Science Media Centre! They also have a number of audio snippets from the briefing.

  3. Jon C says:

    @Thanks Gareth for taking the time to drop by with an update. You’re welcome anytime.


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