New Zealanders are now strongly in favour of cutting the alcohol level for adult drivers - a proposal medical experts are pushing.

A Research NZ poll of 500 people has found 63 per cent support lowering the adult blood-alcohol limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg.

Opinion in previous surveys had been split 50-50.

The poll also found 84 per cent in favour of a zero blood-alcohol limit for drivers under 20. The current limit is 30mg per 100ml of blood.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce is to take several measures aimed at reducing alcohol-related accidents to the Cabinet next month.

His proposals will include zero drink-drive limits for under-20s and repeat drink-drive offenders and a review of penalties for repeat drink-drivers and for offenders causing death and serious injury.

But Mr Joyce has not pushed for a 50mg adult blood-alcohol level, saying he will make that proposal in conjunction with an alternative that research be done into the level of risk posed by drivers with blood-alcohol readings between 50mg and 80mg.

Research NZ partner Emmanual Kalafatelis said the results were "a clear sign" Mr Joyce could afford to be more vigorous in pushing for a cut in the adult blood-alcohol level.

"I am pretty sure that if we had interviewed 1000 or 1500 people, we would have got the same result. It's not as if we got a 50-50 response."

Mr Joyce last night described the 63 per cent support as "interesting".

If it were reinforced by further studies, it would be evidence of a shift in public opinion, he said.

Transport Ministry surveys had found a "rough 50/50 split" on the matter.

A group of senior health experts yesterday lent their weight to a lowering of the limit.

Capital Coast District Health Board chief medical officer Geoff Robinson said the 80mg level was "reasonably high" by international standards and many people were "quite significantly intoxicated" at such a level.

Drivers could be slurring their speech, walking unsteadily and lacking co-ordination, but still be legally allowed to get behind the wheel.

ESR forensic toxicologist Allan Stowell said only New Zealand, Britain, Canada and United States still had an 80mg level, and 50mg was the international "threshold above which the likelihood of having an accident greatly increases".

A man weighing 85kg and measuring 1.8m could take up to eight standard drinks, or seven stubbies of beer, over a couple of hours and still be under the current limit,while an average woman weighing 70kg and measuring 1.65m could consume 3.4 to 5.4 standard drinks in a two-hour period, he said.

Otago University public health physician and epidemiologist Jenny Connor said adult drivers with a blood-alcohol level of 80mg were almost four times more likely to have a fatal crash than those with a 50mg reading.

Automobile Association spokesman Mike Noon called for a review of the number of injury crashes caused by drivers with readings between 50mg and 80mg.

Cutting the legal limit to 50mg did not address the "enormous problem" New Zealand had with recidivist drunk drivers, he said.

"It is totally unacceptable to our members and the public that we see someone coming up for their third, fourth, fifth drink-driving conviction and they are still on our roads ... Take them off for life, take their cars away."