The New Zealand Government has just announced new laws and limits regarding drinking alcohol and driving in New Zealand.
From the 1st of December 2014 the legal limit for fully licenced drivers over the age of 20 years of age, breath testing limits will reduce from 400 mcg per litre of breath to 250 mcg, while the limit for blood will reduce from 80 mcg per 100ml of blood down to 50 mcg. For drivers aged under 20 years the limit remains at zero.
While the proposed punishments may be less severe for those caught with alcohol levels that fall between the new limit and the old limit, our advice to people hiring rental cars in New Zealand is to not drink and drive at all. From a safety perspective, being impaired in any way while driving a vehicle is never a good idea, especially in an unfamiliar vehicle while driving on unfamiliar and often challenging roads. Financially, an accident in a rental car while under the influence of alcohol could prove to be very expensive. Most New Zealand rental car insurance policies include a list of exclusions which usually mentions drinking and driving and being charged or convicted of a driving offence. Should an accident occur in these circumstances, the driver of the rental car could be liable for all damage caused.
So if you are planning a New Zealand road trip, be aware of the law. Make sure that you enjoy our world class Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Central Otago Pinot Noir wines as well as our great range of craft beers during your trip. When you do, stay safe and don’t drive!