Legal Drinking Limit when Driving New Zealand Car Rentals

If you decide to get around New Zealand using car rentals during your vacation, it's important to make sure you are familiar with the rules of the road or as the New Zealanders' refer to them, the Road Code. It is especially important to keep yourself, your passengers and other road users safe by adhering to speed limits and restrictions on drinking alcohol before driving.

When you drive New Zealand car rentals, you are obliged to drive within New Zealand driving laws and would be treated in the same way as any other road user who contravenes these laws.

What is the Legal Drinking Limit when Driving New Zealand Car Rentals?

Please Note: As of 8 August 2014 new Drink Driving Laws for drivers over 20 are in effect.

Firstly, remember that it is not only alcohol that can impair your ability to drive safely and within New Zealand law. Some drugs given to you by a doctor (or self-administered) can affect your senses and slow your normal reaction times down. Always check what the side-effects of any medication may be. If driving is not advisable, then either ask another driver permitted by your car rentals agreement to take over the driving from you, or wait until it is safe for you to drive.

New Zealand law says that you must not drive if the amount of alcohol in your blood or breath exceeds certain age-related limits. These are summarized below:

  • Aged under 20 years of age – There is a zero alcohol limit if you are under 20. That means if you drive after consuming even one drink you can be charged with drink driving. If you have an alcohol level of less than 150 micrograms per litre of breath and less than 30 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood you could be fined and given 50 demerit points. If your alcohol limit is higher, you could be disqualified from driving, given 50 demerit points and either fined or imprisoned.

  • Aged 20 years of age or over – You must not drive if you have more than 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, or more than 250 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.
    As it is difficult to assess how many alcoholic drinks you can have before you reach this limit, the best advice is: If you drink at all, DO NOT drive.
    Limits can be easily affected by factors such as your gender, your size and the amount of food you have eaten.
View more information about alcohol and drugs limits.

Booking New Zealand Car Rentals

It is easy to book a rental car in New Zealand. Simply browse our range of rental cars by choosing one of the options below.

You may be interested in a form of transport in New Zealand other than a rental car. Browse our range of transport options including airlines, bus and coach services, rental 4WD, minivan and buses, rental campervans and motorhomes, rental bikes and motorcycles and trains.

View more frequently asked questions about New Zealand car rentals.


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