Drink driving

Don't drink and driveAlcohol-related crashes are a significant road safety issue, both nationally and within the district.

Alcohol greatly impairs our ability to drive. Studies have shown that the risk of being involved in an accident increases greatly as blood alcohol levels rise.  You are 16 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash when driving over the legal limit.

Local statistics

Between 2009 and 2013 there were 151 crashes in the district that involved alcohol; eight people died and 37 road users were seriously injured. This number accounts for 14% of all injury crashes.

The majority (85%) of the crashes occurred on local roads rather than the state highways, and were split equally between urban and rural areas. Over a third also involved speed or driving too fast for the conditions. Nearly half of the 'at fault' drivers were under 25. Of these drivers, 53% were either on restricted or learner licences.

Legal limits

On 1 December 2014 the legal breath alcohol limit for adult drivers (aged 20 and over) reduced from 400 to 250 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath, and the blood alcohol limit from 80 to 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. Offences for adult drivers with alcohol levels between the new and old limits (251 to 400 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath and 50 to 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood) are infringement offences.

If you have a healthy liver, it will take an hour to get rid of the alcohol contained in just one standard-size drink. It cannot work any faster. Because your liver can only get rid of alcohol at a fixed rate, your blood alcohol level may still be over the legal limit for driving the morning after a heavy drinking session. 

Alcohol limit for under 20 year olds

There is a zero alcohol limit if you are under 20. That 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. If your alcohol limit is higher, you could be disqualified from driving, given 50 demerit points and either fined or imprisoned.