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72pc of all alcohol-related deaths on NZ roads caused by 'problem drivers'

November 14, 2010 - Wellington

A new research in New Zealand has pointed out that drivers who are either blind-drunk, or repeat offenders cause most drink-driving deaths.

The statistics released by the Ministry of Transport show that in 2009 88 deaths - 72 percent of all alcohol related deaths - were caused by 73 drivers who were either at least 50 percent over the current drink drive limit or who already had a previous conviction for drink driving, reports

Of those 88 deaths, 34 people were killed in crashes where drivers at fault had a previous conviction, 50 by drivers who were at least double the current legal limit.

The research comes during debate over whether the drink-driving limit should be lowered, and ahead of the release of a report probing drivers who caused the most mayhem.

Reports said that legislation before the Parliament is designed to help get those high-risk drivers off the road.

Among other things, the legislation will slap a zero blood-alcohol limit on repeat offenders for three years, use alcohol interlocks and double the prison sentence for dangerous driving causing death.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce said the research showed there were no silver bullets in lowering the number of drink-driving deaths and there were already 'a significant number of people operating well outside the law' - meaning that simply lowering the blood-alcohol limit was not the answer.

"Most New Zealand drivers now would not have more than a couple of drinks and drive. But there is a hard core who cause a lot of mayhem. That doesn't mean you should never drop the limit, but you have to get the balance right," he said.

The legal limit is 80mg per 100ml of blood after the Cabinet decided against lowering the limit to 50mg earlier this year.


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