Give drink driving the boot this long weekend says charity

As many people head away for Labour Day weekend, road safety charity Brake is reminding drivers to help keep themselves and others safe on the roads by following a few simple but essential road safety messages.

With the Rugby World Cup semi-finals also taking place this weekend, Brake is calling on drivers to pledge not to drink any amount of alcohol if they're driving, because even small amounts affect reaction times and coordination. In 2017, 130 people were killed and 446 seriously injured in crashes where alcohol and/or drugs was a contributing factor. [1]

As fans head to friends' houses, or out to bars to watch the game, the charity is advising everyone to plan before heading out, and if they're drinking, to make sure they have safe, alternative travel arrangements. This could involve using public transport or taxis, having a designated sober driver, or walking if there is a safe route.

The charity is also urging drivers to give the road their full attention when they're at the wheel, and to ensure that everyone in their vehicle is wearing a seat belt or appropriate child restraint on every journey.

Caroline Perry, Brake's NZ director said: "We want everyone to enjoy the long weekend, and the rugby, and to get to their destination safely, so we're reminding drivers that even small amounts of alcohol affect your driving, and urge you to pledge not to drink any amount of alcohol if you have to drive. If you're drinking, arrange an alternative, safe way to travel. Crashes have devastating consequences and we don't want to see someone's long weekend to end in tragedy.

"If you're driving this weekend, it's also vital you ensure everyone is wearing a seat belt, and that you're alert at all times when you're behind the wheel. If you're involved in a crash, wearing a seat belt significantly reduces the risk of being killed, so our appeal to drivers is help protect yourself and your loved ones by making sure everyone is wearing one."

Quick reference advice: drink driving

  • If you're driving, pledge not to drink any amount of alcohol.
  • If you're drinking, plan ahead so you have a safe way to get home afterwards.
  • Make sure you've completely got rid of any alcohol in your system before driving - many drink drivers are caught the next day, after a night out drinking.

Quick reference facts: drink driving

  • Drivers with 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood are at least three times more likely to die in a crash than those with no alcohol in their blood [2].
  • Drivers with a BAC of 10mg/100ml, well below the NZ limit, are 46% more likely to be at-fault in a crash than sober drivers [3].
  • Alcohol is a depressant and even small amounts (such as a standard bottle of beer) affect your reaction times, judgment and co-ordination. It also makes you drowsy and affects your vision and how you judge speed and distance [4].

End notes:
[1] Alcohol and drug crashes, Ministry of Transport, 2018
[2] Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010
[3] Official blame for drivers with very low blood alcohol content, British Medical Journal, 2014
[4] How much alcohol can I drink before driving? NHS Choices, 2013