The Government's decision to lower the blood alcohol limit is a big step towards making our district's roads safer, says Council Road Safety Project Officer Aileen Campbell.
Miss Campbell says the new law will help reduce the number of crashes on our roads and make it safer for the Ashburton community.
"Alcohol impairment was a factor in approximately 16 percent (138 crashes) of all serious and fatal regional crashes in Ashburton District between 2009 and 2013," said Miss Campbell.
The Land Transport Amendment Act 2013 comes into force in December. From 1 December, the blood alcohol limit will be 50 milligrams (mg) of alcohol per 100 millilitres (ml) of blood, compared with the current limit of 80mgs per 100ml. The breath alcohol limit will drop from 400 micrograms (mcg) to 250mcg.
Drivers caught with a breath alcohol level between 251-400mcg will receive an infringement fee of $200 and 50 demerit points. Drivers who accumulate 100 or more demerit points from driving offences within two years receive a three month driver's licence suspension.
In 2013, 168 police notices issued for alcohol offences in Ashburton District.
"Research shows that an adult who has consumed alcohol and has a blood alcohol level up to the legal driving limit of 80mg/100ml is approximately 16 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than a driver with a zero blood alcohol level," said Miss Campbell.
"Alcohol-impaired drivers take a toll on our district and we believe the new law will have a positive impact on our community," she said.