'Know your limits' campaign spells out drink-driving limits
Almost a year after the drink driving legislation was changed, hospitality businesses say their customers still don't know what the new laws mean for them - something Hospitality New Zealand is aiming to change with its information campaign 'know your limits'.
On December 1 last year, the government lowered the legal alcohol limit for driving from 400 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath, to 250mcg for drivers over 20. Hospitality New Zealand chief executive Bruce Robertson said since then, many of the organisations members had reported lower alcohol sales, partly due to police and others agencies pushing anti drink-driving adverts.
"Those agencies think the drink-drive limit should be zero so obviously they have been encouraging that, but parliament made a different decision," Robertson said.
"Parliament said it is legal to drink and drive up to 250mcg's so while their position is understandable we don't believe it reflects the law."
"Some bars and restaurants have indicated that they have seen a drop in patronage - less people coming in, people not staying as long and certainly a drop in sales and for some businesses that's up to 30 per cent, which is significant."
Robertson said the main issue was that people were still unsure about how much they could drink under the new drink-driving laws.
Based on research from ESR, Hospitality New Zealand has launched a campaign this week with a rule of thumb guide for men and women - three standard drinks over two hours for men and two standard drinks over two hours for women.
ESR toxicology team leader Sam Coward said research from the team had shown that following this rule would keep consumers under the drink drive limit, and allow them to enjoy a drink or two without needing to worry.
"This campaign is not aimed at those people going out for a large number of beers on a Friday night," Coward said.
"It is aimed at those people wanting to go out for a couple of hours, and have a drink or two with a meal."
The campaign is being launched this week, but Robertson said it would likely be an ongoing campaign which would not only tell people what they could safely drink but also what a standard drink actually looked like - another thing he said people were often unsure of.
"This is being driven from our view that there is a lack of certainty and understanding by the public," Robertson said.
"Whether they're at a hospitality venue or at a friends place, I think it's important that they understand what the limit actually means from a practical sense."