Skip to Main Content
Auckland Transport

Drink driving Drink driving

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

Plan ahead and get home safe

Whether you like to plan ahead or just make a call on the night, there’s lots of ways to get home safe! Don’t get behind the wheel after you’ve had a couple. Drinking? Plan your ride.

Auckland is now a Vision Zero region which means Auckland Transport (AT) is committed to no deaths or serious injuries on Tamaki Makaurau roads by 2050. Alcohol contributes to around 30 percent of New Zealand's fatal road crashes and AT and NZ Police are working to change driver behaviour in both urban and rural Auckland communities to reduce death and trauma caused by drink driving.

Even after one drink, you’ll be putting yourself and others at risk.

Before you head out, get your plans sorted on how to get home safe or organise to stay the night. Leave your car at home

Plan your ride home.

Use public transport

Auckland Transport wants to make sure everyone gets home safely.

Bus or Train – Night bus timetable available.

From midnight until late the Night Bus and Northern Express bus services are a great way to get home. Routes to North, South, East, West and Central suburbs operate on Friday and Saturday nights.

Find a bus, train or ferry timetable using AT Mobile for iPhone or Android.

Get a taxi

There are a range of taxi’s or ride share services like Uber, Zoomy or Ola available to get you home. It’ll be cheaper than facing a fine or conviction for being caught drink-driving, not to mention safer for everyone else 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 went to that Festival in the city, you can always rely on someone to pick you up when you’ve had a drink.

If you live in a more rural area where there is little to no public transport or to get a taxi costs too much, this is a great option. Especially if you take turns on being a Sober legend to get your friends or whānau home safe.

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 will always be cheaper than facing a fine or conviction.

Drink driving laws in New Zealand

Drink driving is an issue for all ages.

In Auckland from 2015 to 2019 there were 519 death and serious injury (DSI) crashes in the Auckland region which were related to alcohol and drugs. Specifically, in 2017 there were 154 DSI casualties relating to alcohol/drugs, including 26 deaths (19 deaths in 2016).

Studies have shown that the risk of being involved in a crash increases as a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) increases. At high blood alcohol levels, the risk rapidly increases.

The following laws apply to drink driving in New Zealand:

  • Under 20 - 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.
  • 20 or over - You must not drive if you have consumed more than the legal alcohol limit, which is 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood or a breath alcohol limit of 250micrograms (mcg) of alcohol per litre of breath or a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05%.

It's difficult to estimate how many alcoholic drinks a person can have before they reach these limits and depends on many factors, including:

  1. Gender.
  2. Body weight/Body Mass Index.
  3. How much food you have eaten.
  4. If you have exercised and/or done physical activity.
  5. Hydration levels.

With so many varying factors, why risk it and just plan not to drive after consuming alcohol?

The consequences of drink driving in New Zealand

The consequences of drink-driving can be life-changing. The amount you’ve had to drink makes no difference. Whether just over the limit or well over the limit, in the eyes of the law you are still a convicted drunk-driver and a criminal.

One drink before driving can:

  • impair your reactions putting you and others at risk of being involved in an accident
  • get you a criminal record
  • mean you’ll lose your licence for 6 months
  • land you a heavy fine
  • get your car seized
  • possibly put you in prison.

On a personal level, a drink driving conviction can:

  • lead to unemployment
  • cause you humiliation and guilt
  • negatively impact your relationships with family and friends.

Remember, if driving the day after drinking:

  • alcohol stays in your system longer than you think
  • the same consequences apply if you’re caught over the limit the next day.

Legal drink driving limit in New Zealand

One drink can put you over the limit

In New Zealand, the legal limit is 50mg per 100ml of blood (equivalent to 250mcg of alcohol per litre of breath). Even if you’re just over the limit, in the eyes of the law you’re a drunk-driver and a criminal – there is no grey area.

The reason for the 50mg legal limit

The legal limit is not an allowance, it’s there to cover different people’s metabolisms, those suffering diabetes, plus the effects of mouthwash. As always, the best approach is to not drive if you’ve drank alcohol.

Myths about drinking and driving:

  • False: eating absorbs alcohol so it’s ok to have one or two drinks with a meal
  • False: coffee or water sobers you up
  • False: a cold shower sobers you up
  • False: being in the fresh air gets alcohol out your system more quickly.

If you see someone get into their car after drinking - you should take action

If it’s someone you know then perhaps the polite suggestion of calling a taxi might do it. However, if it’s a stranger, or you don’t feel safe confronting your friend, then you can either alert the bar or security staff or call the police. Before you call the police make sure you have a note of:

  • the car registration number
  • description of the person
  • description of the vehicle
  • location.

The breathalyser never gets it wrong

If the police want to check whether you’re over the drink drive limit, they’ll do a breathalyser test at the roadside.

If you fail the test, or refuse to take it, you’ll be arrested and taken to the police station and asked to provide a further two breath specimens into a more advanced breathalyser. If you fail, or continue to refuse, you will be charged and this evidence could then be used to prosecute later down the line. Refusal can also lead to your car being forfeited.

It is an offence to refuse the blood test. A driver convicted of a first or second drink-driving offence can face a prison term of up to three months or a fine of up to $4,500 and lose their driver licence for six months or more.

Students Against Dangerous Driving (SADD)

SADD is a peer-education programme that has been running in NZ for almost 20 years.
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

If you are experiencing family violence, don't worry, the information within this pop-up won't appear in your browser's history.

Privacy policy

We’ve made asking for help safer than ever.

Join us in standing up against domestic violence and making more places of refuge across the internet.

If you, your business or your agency want to have The Shielded Site tab on your site we’ve made adding it very easy.

Click here to find out more. (WARNING: this will take you away from our shielded portal.)


If you are living in fear in your relationship or in your family, there are so many ways we can help you right now. You won’t be turned away even if you don’t have children, a NZ visa, or money. If you still have more questions have a read below and contact us when you’re ready.

I’m ready to talk now.

You can call our 24-hour support and crisis line on 0800 REFUGE (733843). Or, if you prefer, you can click here and contact us discretely through our contact form and we will email you back as soon as possible.

What will I do for money?

There are a number of benefits and allowances you may be eligible for if you are a victim of domestic violence in New Zealand. We can help you better understand your options once you make contact.

I haven’t been beaten up, can Women’s Refuge still help me?

We support women who have experienced any form of domestic violence: verbal, psychological/emotional, sexual, and financial as well as physical. In fact, psychological/emotional abuse is the most common form of domestic violence.

How much does it cost to stay?

Women's Refuge support and advocacy services are free. In the safe house, rent is usually charged once your financial situation is sorted out. Safety is our main concern. You won't be turned away if you don't have any money.

How long can I stay in a safe house?

Some women only stay a night or two, while others stay for weeks. You can talk with the advocates at your local refuge about how long you think you need to stay to ensure your safety.

I don’t live with my partner, but he is abusing me. Can you still help me?

Yes, you don’t have to be living with your partner to experience domestic violence and you can still call us.

What happens if I haven't got any clothes or food?

Women's Refuge has clothing that you can have. We’ve also got toys and books, formula and nappies. You are welcome to use our emergency food until you get your financial situation sorted out.

Will other people be there?

Safe houses usually have other women, including women with their children, staying there. Refuge advocates are around during the day.

How will I get my kids to school?

The advocates at your local refuge will help you work out transport for your children, or help with changing schools.

Can Women's Refuge help me if I stay in my own house?

Yes, we can provide all the same support and advocacy for you no matter where you choose to live. You may be eligible to access support through the Whanau Protect service.

I'm living in a rural area. Can you still help me?

Yes. Find your local refuge and they will be able to arrange support, advocacy and transport for you.

Can Women's Refuge help around issues with children?

Yes. We can provide support and advocacy around matters to do with custody, access and care.


The safest way to browse the internet if you suspect your browsing history is being monitored, is to use your browser’s private or incognito mode.

If you suspect your device has been compromised by spyware, then you should use consider using another device as some spyware may still be able to monitor icognito sessions.

To activate a private browsing session, follow the instructions below.


Open Safari > go to the File menu > select New Private Window

When finished, don’t forget to close your browser window to ensure your safety and privacy.


Open Chrome > go to the triple-dot menu (top right of your browser's window) > select New Incognito Window

Internet Explorer

Open IE > click the Tools button > select Safety > and then click InPrivate Browsing

Mozilla Firefox

Open Firefox > click the menu button ☰ > and then click New Private Window

You should see a message in the new window saying that you are now browsing privately.

When finished, don’t forget to close your browser window to ensure your safety and privacy.

Getting out

The most important thing is for you and your children to get out safely. It is important to know that leaving a violent relationship can be one of the most dangerous times for women and children so it is important to make a safety plan around leaving and keep your plans confidential. Below are some tips to help you make a plan.

  • If you can, pack a bag with bare necessities and important documents that you can leave with someone you trust. Include important documents such as passport, birth certificate, bank account details, driver’s licence, and bank cards and other things like medicines.

  • Know abuser's schedule and safe times to leave.

  • Contact us for guidance or a safe place to stay for you and your children.

Getting help

We warmly welcome all women and their children to access our support, advocacy and crisis accommodation. If you need help or have questions, use our live chat to get in touch.

making a plan

The safety of you and your children (if you have them) will be your primary concern. If you’re not ready or cannot safely leave, here are some things you can do to stay safe now.

  • Make a safety plan with the guidance of a refuge advocate.

  • Get yourself a pre-paid phone; keep it charged and safe.

  • Keep photocopies of important documents (passport, birth certificate, bank account details, medical notes, driver's licence, etc) and store these at the home of a supportive friend or family member.

  • Keep a journal of all violent incidents, noting dates and events.

  • If you can, open your own bank account and try to save some money.

  • If you have pets you are worried about, consider them in your safety plan.

Privacy Policy – The Shielded Site Application.


In this privacy policy, the terms ‘NCIWR’, ‘we’, ‘us’, and ‘our’ refer to National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges Inc. NCIWR operates this web application at (‘this web application’).

This privacy policy explains how we may collect, store, use, and disclose personal information that we collect and that you provide to us. By using this web application you acknowledge that we may collect, store, use, and disclose your personal information in the manner set out in this privacy policy.

Collection of personal information

We may collect personal information from you when you use this web application, for example when you make a request for contact on this web application.

You may decide not to provide your personal information to us. However, if you do not provide it, we may not be able to provide you with access to certain information or services. For example, we may be unable to make contact with you if you do not provide us with your contact information.

Automated collection of non-personal information

When you visit this web application, we will not add traceable elements (such as cookies, sessions, and usage monitoring software) to your browser or device.

Use and disclosure

We will not use or disclose your personal information except in accordance with this privacy policy or the Privacy Act 1993. We may use your personal information to:

  • assist in providing information and services requested by you;

  • communicate with you

Your personal information will only be made available internally for the above purposes. We will not disclose your personal information to third parties. We will only use or disclose personal information that you have provided to us, or which we have obtained about you:

  • for the above-mentioned purposes;

  • if you have otherwise authorised us to do so;

  • if we have given you notification of the intended use or disclosure and you have not objected to that use or disclosure;

  • if we believe that the use or disclosure is reasonably necessary to assist a law enforcement agency or an agency responsible for national security in the performance of their functions;

  • if we believe that the use or disclosure is reasonably necessary to enforce any legal rights we may have, or is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property and safety of us, our customers and users, or others;

  • if we are required or permitted by law to disclose the information; or

  • to another entity that carries on the business of operating this web application.

Storage and security

All personal information collected on this web application is collected and held by NCIWR. We will endeavour to protect your personal information that is held by us from unauthorised access, use, disclosure, alteration, or destruction.

Third party service providers

This website may be hosted by one or more third party service providers (‘service providers’) who enable us to provide this web application. You acknowledge and agree that any personal information that may be collected on this web application may also be held and used by our service providers on our behalf. Any information collected will be securely sent and securely stored on a server.

Third party websites

This web application may be hosted by websites operated by third parties. We are not responsible for the content of such websites, or the manner in which those websites collect, store, use, or distribute any personal information you provide. When you visit third party websites from hyperlinks displayed on this web application, we encourage you to review the privacy statements of those websites so that you can understand how the personal information you provide may be collected, stored, used, and distributed.

Right to access and correct

You may request access to, or correction of, any personal information we hold about you by contacting us as follows:
Post:Privacy Officer
PO Box 27-078
Marion Square
Wellington 6141

To ensure that the contact information we hold about you is accurate and current, please notify us of any changes to such information as soon as possible.

Contacting NCIWR

Any emergency relating to domestic violence should be directed to 111 for New Zealand Police assistance.

If you request assistance through this website, we will endeavour to respond as soon as we can. If you require advocacy services phone 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843 to talk to a refuge in your area within New Zealand. All member refuges of NCIWR are listed on our main website ( If you do visit the Women’s Refuge Website, please note that it is a traceable site so we recommend you use the online safety tips found on this web application to visit safely.

Advocacy services are available at member refuges. Your call and information will be treated in confidence and privacy.

Changes to our privacy policy

We reserve the right, at our discretion, to alter this privacy policy at any time. Changes to this privacy policy will take effect immediately once they are published on this web application. Please check this privacy policy regularly for modifications and updates. If you continue to use this web application or if you provide any personal information after we post changes to this privacy policy, this will indicate your acceptance of any such changes.

This privacy policy was last updated on 6 October 2015.

If You’re In
Immediate danger

If you fear for your safety:

  1. Run outside and head for where there are other people.
  2. Ask someone to call 111
  3. If you have children take them with you if you can
  4. Don't stop to get anything else