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All Crash Drivers Could Be Tested For Alcohol

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Steven Joyce
Steven Joyce

Wellington, March 5 NZPA - All drivers involved in accidents could be forced to be screened for alcohol as part of moves to lower the blood alcohol driving limit being mulled by the Government.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce has admitted there is not enough research into whether drivers with a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of between 0.05 grams per 100 millilitres of blood and the current limit of 0.08g are involved in serious accidents.

The Government is considering lowering the BAC limit to 0.05 but could face public opposition.

Mr Joyce said one option could be to delay a decision on the limit until further research had been done, the Dominion Post reported.

Instead, under a move which would require a law change, police could be required to take a breath or blood sample from all drivers involved in accidents, rather than only if they suspect a driver is over the 0.08 limit under the current law.

If they recorded a BAC of between 0.05 and 0.08 drivers' details would be recorded but the results would be anonymous and for research only.

Between 2004 and 2008, a BAC was recorded from just 2063 of 18,729 drivers involved in fatal or serious injury crashes.

Of those 1137 had readings above the current legal limit while 152 had a BAC of between 0.05 and 0.08 and 778 had a reading below 0.05.

Officials say the reason more complete records are not available is because taking alcohol readings is not a high priority at a crash site.

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