Alcohol Limits for Driving in New Zealand

alcohol limits

Drivers over 20 years old must stay under the legal alcohol limit, while for drivers under 20, the limit should be zero. Keep in mind that even a small amount of alcohol can affect your driving, so it is recommended that you do not drink and drive. You are also not allowed to drive under the influence of any drugs that can affect your ability to drive safely.

What are the legal alcohol limits in New Zealand?

According to NZ Transport Agency​, the law on alcohol limit states that you must not drive if the amount of alcohol in your blood or breath exceeds certain age-related limits.

  • Under 20: There is a zero alcohol limit if you are under 20, which means if you drive after consuming even one drink you can be charged with drink driving. If you have an alcohol level of less than 150 micrograms per litre of breath and less than 30 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood, you could be fined and given 50 demerit points. Note that if your alcohol limit is higher, you could be disqualified from driving, be given 50 demerit points and either fined or imprisoned.
  • 20 or over: You must not drive if you have consumed more than the legal alcohol limit, which is 250 micrograms per litre of breath or 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood.

How are alcohol limits measured?

The alcohol limit for driving can be tested through:

  • breath testing to measure the number of micrograms of alcohol (mcgs) per litre of breath
  • blood testing to measure the number of milligrams of alcohol (mgs) per 100 millilitres (mls) of blood.

Please note that breath testing is usually used for both screening and evidential purposes. Blood testing, on the other hand, can be used as a check on the accuracy of the breath testing.

​For other driving tips, click here​​​​​​​.


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