Impaired Driving (Alcohol & Drugs)
The second biggest contributing factor to road crashes in New Zealand, alcohol seriously affects your driving by slowing your reaction times and affecting your senses and judgement.
Being a responsible driver means never driving when you're over the permitted alcohol level as it may impair your judgement. You might think your fine, but you’re not, you risk causing death and serious injury to yourself and other people if you drive under the influence of alcohol.
Two hundred and fifty micrograms per litre of breath or 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood is the current legal limit for drivers 20 years or older. At this limit, you're still twice as likely to have a crash as a driver that has a zero-blood alcohol level. If your under 20 years old, the limit is ZERO.
PLAN AHEAD – Keep yourself and your mates safe
Where there is a courtesy van provided, the smart choice is to use it. Another option is having a designated sober driver organised. Everyone of your friends can have their turn and chip in.
If you or your family and friends are going out for a few drinks, always encourage them to arrange a safe ride home before they go out. Options available are:
- Have a designated sober driver
- Use the courtesy van
- Use a taxi or Uber if available
- Ask someone to pick you up (who hasn’t been drinking)
- Only accept a lift if you are certain that the driver has not been drinking or using drugs
However, the same message also rings true if you are having a few people around for drinks at your home. If you are planning a BBQ or party at home, being a responsible host is vital.
So plan your party well, the morning after will be even worse if you find out one of your family or friends didn’t get home, or caused someone else not to.
We all know that having food with a few drinks is very important. Preferably it should be more than just a few chips and peanuts and available regularly throughout the night.
Other suggestions for the host:
- Offer non and low alcoholic drinks.
- Always have water available on the bar or table.
- Do not be overly generous when it comes to pouring the measures of drinks.
- Help your guests organise safe transport options, or even offer the couch.
- Having one or more drivers who can safely take your guests home is always possible, even in rural areas.
- Drink and serve alcohol responsibly.
We all have a part to play in keeping ourselves or our family and friends safe after having a great time. Make the right decision, be strong, save a life.
STAY ALERT – Drugs & Driving
It should come as no surprise that it's illegal to take illicit drugs, but it's also illegal to drive while under the influence of illegal drugs.
But what may be a surprise, is that you can be charged with impaired driving if you are under the influence of prescribed medications which are affecting your driving behaviour. Certain medications prescribed from your GP can adversely affect your attention, reactions times and alertness. The responsibility is on you as the driver to ensure you are safe to drive.
Symptoms could include:
- Feeling drowsy
- Blurred vision
- Feeling weak
- Slowed reactions
- Feeling sick
If you are unsure - rest, don’t drive and talk to your GP.
Making a personal cocktail of any form of drugs/medications and alcohol is only going to have a multiplying effect on your inability to drive.