New drink – driving laws

By early next year, there will be a new law on drinking and driving. The government plans to lower the limit for alcohol in the blood from 80mg per 100ml of blood to 50mg per 100ml of blood. Australia has had this limit for the last 30 years but New Zealand has been slow to drop the limit.

However, if a driver is caught with a level between 50mg and 80mg, he or she will receive a $200 fine and 50 demerit points. Anything over 80mg will be a criminal offence; the driver will go to court and possibly prison.

There is no change for teenage drivers. They are not allowed to drink any alcohol.

On an average, about 60 deaths and 1,000 injuries are caused by drunk drivers each year.

Listen to August 7th 2011 to hear more about alcohol limits for drivers.


  • limit – highest amount allowed
  • demerit points – a driver loses his or her licence after 100 demerit points (merit means good, demerit means bad)
  • criminal offence – a crime, breaking the law

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