New Zealand Statistics

Alcohol is one of the biggest contributing factors to New Zealand’s road toll. In 2002, 27 percent of all road casualties were from alcohol-related crashes1.

In 2002 drinking and driving contributed to:

Impairment of Driving Skills

Since the present blood alcohol limit of 80mg alcohol/100ml blood was established in 1978 research has shown that important driving skills including vision, steering, braking, vigilance, information processing, and divided attention tasks are adversely affected by small amounts of alcohol2.

The relationship between blood-alcohol levels and risk of crashing is well established. As blood alcohol levels increase, the risk of having a fatal crash increases3. The relative risk of having a crash is even higher for those aged 16-19 years old4, and 20-295.

Overseas Limits

Most of the Western world now has a 50mg blood alcohol limit, and international trends have shown that a 50mg limit dramatically reduces drink driving, saves lives, and reduces injuries from alcohol-related road crashes2. The greatest reduction was seen in Queensland with an 18 percent reduction in fatal collisions and a 14 percent reduction in serious accidents2.

Why a 50mg Limit?

Opponents of a 50mg Blood Alcohol Limit

Many of the opponents to the 50mg blood alcohol level state arguments such as:


1 Land Transport Safety Authority. 2003. Drinking and Driving Statistics. Retrieved 22/09/03.

2 Chamberlain E, Solomon R. 2002. The Case for a 0.05% criminal law BAC limit for driving. Injury Prevention; 8 (III): III1-III17

3 Acquire – Alcohol Concern’s Quarterly Information and Research Bulletin. Summer 2002

4 Mayhew DR, Doneldson AC, Beirness DJ, Simpson HM. 1986. Youth alcohol and relative risk of crash involvement. Accident Analysis and Prevention: 18

5 Road Safety 2010. 2003. National Road Safety Committee.

6 Alcohol Advisory Council. 1995. The role of alcohol in road crashes: A taskgroup report to the Officials Committee on Road Safety

7 Brooks and Zaal D. 1993. The impact of a reduced alcohol limit on driving. Paper presented to the 12th international conference on alcohol, drugs and traffic safety, Cologne, Germany