New drink-driving alcohol limits

Effective 1 December New Zealand drivers need to be within certain limits if consuming alcohol before driving a vehicle.  

They are, for drivers over 20 years of age, almost half of what they were before so are likely to have an impact on people over the festive season. For drivers under 20, the limit stays at zero.  

Employers should ensure their staff are aware of the new limits before attending any Christmas functions and, while personal responsibility is of course a priority, employers should update or introduce a clear alcohol use policy on the topic, particularly if your employees drive company vehicles.

Guidance from the ESR indicates that most adults may be able to drink two standard drinks over two hours and are likely to remain under the new drink-driving limits for adults. A standard drink is approximately equivalent to 330ml of beer or 100ml of wine. 

Those businesses selling/providing alcohol (Host Responsibility) should offer more non-alcoholic drinks, have clear signage for dial a drivers and taxis, and reminders to those attending about the new limits.

It is important to remember that there is no ‘safe’ level of alcohol for driving, and the best advice to avoid any doubt is not to drive if you are going to drink. Failing a breath test between 251 and 400 mcg alcohol per litre of breath will result in a fine of $200 and 50 demerit points. Ouch!

If you would like to discuss any of these updates or any other employment related matter, contact Paddy Battersby on 09 838 6338 or 

08 December 2014
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