Drink driving Drink driving

Alcohol-related crashes are a significant road safety issue in New Zealand. We're working closely with the community and other agencies to reduce drink driving on our region's roads.

Record number of breath tests

NZ police are carrying out record numbers of breath tests, anytime and anywhere. So sort your ride home before you head out.

A police officer shown facing away with red emergency lights in the distance, next to a bus driver sat in a bus seat smiling

Ways to get home safely

Get a taxi or ride-share

There are many taxi and ride-share services available to get you home. It’s way cheaper than a fine or drink-driving conviction, as well as safer for everyone on the road.

Nominate a designated driver or call someone to pick you up

Whether you’ve had a few beers at the boat club or you went to that festival in the city, you can always rely on someone to pick you up when you’ve had a drink.

This is a great option if you live in a rural area where there is limited public transport, or getting a taxi or ride-share costs too much. Taking turns to be a sober legend to get your friends or whānau home safe is a great idea.

Stay over at a friend's house or check into a hotel or B&B

Stay at a friend’s or relative’s until you’re sure you’re safe to drive.

Although a hotel or B&B may seem like a luxury, it’ll always be cheaper than a fine or conviction.

Take public transport

And of course, you can always take public transport.

We have well over 11,000 public transport options every day, between 6am and midnight. It will usually be your most economical option for getting home safe and sound.

It will often require a little simple planning, so use the AT Mobile app or Journey Planner to sort your ride home before you head out.

NZ police drink-driving testing

NZ police can breath test anyone driving a motor vehicle on a road without needing good cause to suspect that the driver has consumed alcohol.

The police use the following tests to see whether a driver has been drinking.

Passive breath test

The officer places a hand-held electronic device in front of the driver's mouth and asks the driver to talk. This detects the presence of alcohol. A breath screening test is required when alcohol is detected.

Breath screening test

The driver blows into a mouthpiece attached to an electronic device. The device provides a reading of the driver's breath-alcohol. If this is above the legal limit, the police ask the driver to take an evidential breath test.

Evidential breath test

The driver blows into an electronic device. The device provides a reading of the driver's breath-alcohol level, which can be used in court.

Evidential blood test

The driver can choose to have an evidential blood test if they refuse or fail their evidential breath test. A doctor, nurse or other approved health professional must carry out the blood test.

It is not an offence for a driver to refuse a breath screening or evidential breath test. If the driver refuses these tests, they must complete an evidential blood test. It is an offence to refuse the blood test.

Consequences of drink-driving

A driver convicted of a first or second drink-driving offence can:

  • face a prison term of up to three months
  • be fined up to $4,500 and lose their driver licence for six months or more.

A driver with more than two drink-driving offences can:

  • go to prison for two years
  • be fined up to $6,000 and lose their driver licence.

A drink driver causing death can go to prison for up to 10 years.

Find out what New Zealand's drink driving laws are.

Students Against Dangerous Driving (SADD)

SADD is a student-led charity with the goal of preventing loss on New Zealand roads.

SADD aims to reduce the harm caused on our roads by dangerous drivers. The education programme is run in secondary schools by students, independent of the school curriculum, and is open to any student of any year.

Visit the SADD website.

For more information

Contact Auckland Transport