Alcohol use is a significant cause of road crash deaths and injuries

Alcohol use causes impairment when driving. 

Road traffic crashes involving alcohol are more likely to be fatal or result in severe injuries [9].

The risk of crashing increases with the amount of alcohol in the blood at the time of driving.  For New Zealanders aged 20 years or over, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05mg alcohol per 100ml of blood. For drivers under 20 years, there is a zero tolerance to alcohol in the blood.

In New Zealand, drivers aged 20-29 with a BAC of 0.05mg/100ml are about 17 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than their sober counterpart. Adults aged over 30 years are about 6 times as likely.

The risk of any crash is increased by 13 to 18 times for drivers with a BAC of 0.10mg/100ml and the risk of a fatal crash by 50 to 90 times [10].

Number of convicted drink-drive offences

The number of convicted drink-drive offences has declined in recent years, down from 30,446 in 2009/10 to 18,062 in 2015/16 [11,12].

It is unknown whether this is a true decrease as result of changing attitudes to drink driving, or changes in the way that Police have carried out, or targeted, their random breath testing methods.

Despite the downward trend, the number of repeat or multiple offenders remains high. Almost 49% (10,094) of total convicted drink-drivers were repeat or multiple offenders in 2013/14 [12].

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