Almost 190 drivers have been busted for drink-driving in the Western Bay under the new lower adult alcohol limit in the first seven months since the law change.

Police data shows 189 drivers were fined for driving over the new lower adult alcohol limit between December 1, 2014 and June 30 this year costing them a total of $37,400.

Under new rules which came into force on December 1, adult drivers who fail an evidential breath test of between 251 and 400 mgs receive a $200 infringement notice fee and 50 demerit points.

Drivers who blew over 400mcgs of alcohol per litre of breath continue to face criminal prosecution and sanctions, while there is a zero-alcohol limit for drivers under-20.


In the December 1-June 30 period, police caught another 491 drivers who blew more than 400mcgs.

Between 2011 and 2014 a total of 4923 drivers were fined for drink-driving in the Western Bay region and amassed a total of $34,800 in fines.

Last year 868 people were also prosecuted in Tauranga District Court for drink-driving related offences " 1000 less than were prosecuted in 2008.

However, Head of Western Bay road policing Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said overall there had been a 17.5 per cent rise in the number of drink-drivers caught on Western Bay roads in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2015, with 1059 drivers compared to 901 in the previous fiscal year. Mr Campion said since 2008 drink-driving figures in this district had been coming down from 1867 in the 2008 calender year to 871 in 2014.

From January 1 to July 21 this year 610 drivers had already been caught drink-driving.

"That's very disappointing given all the publicity about the reduced lower alcohol limits, and the significant ramifications for people when they are caught," he said.

Mr Campion said one big positive coming out of the region's drink-driving statistics was the significant reduction in under 20s drink-drivers. They represented 27.2 per cent of all drink-drivers caught in 2008 but that dropped to 9.2 per cent in the 2014 calendar year.

"That's very pleasing. Young people under 20 are often maligned for their risk-taking, but it's adult drivers in the 20 to 24 years age group who are caught in much larger numbers. They represented 22.65 per cent of all drink-drivers in the 2014 calendar year," he said.


Recidivist drink-drivers also continued to be a huge challenge, Mr Campion said.

Nationally almost 5000 drink-drivers have been caught under the new lower adult alcohol limit since December 1 last year, incurring a total of $972,000 in fines.

National Road Policing Manager Inspector Steve Greally said he hoped the drop in the numbers caught nationally would soon filter down to those in the lower alcohol threshold, as people started to understand how easy it was to be caught drink-driving.

Additional reporting NZME