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Published: 2010-08-18 00:00:00

The Waikato Regional Transport Committee is urging Cabinet to reconsider the Government’s decision not to lower blood alcohol limits for adult drivers.

A committee letter sent to Prime Minister John Key this week, in his role as head of Cabinet, noted that the committee had strongly supported lowering the legal blood alcohol content for all adult drivers from 0.08 to 0.05mg, as confirmed in a letter sent to the Minister of Transport in April.

This step was subsequently rejected by the Government, which said it would delay implementing such a proposal for two years so that further information could be gathered.

However, at its meeting this month, the committee resolved to advise Cabinet of its support for the immediate reduction of the present limit for adult drivers to 0.05mg and its disappointment that further consideration of the proposal will be delayed.

The letter said the committee found it difficult to accept the Government’s decision.

"Alcohol is a factor in nearly a quarter of all fatal and serious injury crashes in the Waikato region.

"Fatal and serious crashes involving alcohol impaired drivers are happening on this region’s roads every week, putting unacceptable pressure on health and emergency services and taking an unacceptable toll on the regional community.

"Without exception, members of this committee, who represent diverse communities in both urban and rural territorial authorities, are aligned in the strong view that the legal blood alcohol content for all adult drivers in New Zealand needs to be reduced from 0.08 to 0.05mg with immediate effect."

The letter said the bulk of evidence in support of a lower limit came from countries which have implemented lower legal limits of 0.05mg or less with demonstrable and compelling results.

"Recent polling shows that the New Zealand public too is in favour of a harder line on drink driving, with several high profile surveys finding the majority of respondents in favour of reducing the legal adult blood alcohol limit for driving," the letter said.