This summer, over the holiday season, there are two things Kiwi drivers should look out for on the road. The speed limit tolerance has changed and the drink-driving limit has also been lowered.
From now on drivers caught with between 251 and 400 micrograms per litre of breath alcohol will be hit with a $200 fine and 50 demerit points. Get caught a second time, and you risk losing your licence for three months. For drivers below the age of 20 the limit is still zero so if you’re the sober driver, you’ll need to be sober. Women are being urged to be particularly careful as they have less body water than men to absorb alcohol.
The lower speeding tolerance has also come into force and will be effective until the end of January with police warning everyone that they will be pulling over any driver caught exceeding the posted speed limit. After a controversial move to try and do away with any form of tolerance — a zero tolerance, effectively — the 4kph tolerance has been reinstated. That said, "Anything over the limit is speeding and anyone speeding can expect to be pulled over," says Dave Cliff, police assistant commissioner of road policing.
We’re all keen on a few brews under the sun and to get out of the city quickly, but it’s worth bearing these changes in mind — avoiding unnecessary fines and demerits is always good, but it’s cool being able to reach the holiday destination unscathed too.