Most New Zealanders have no issue driving to and from the bar and think it is fine to have one or two drinks before driving to another destination, a study into Kiwi drink-driving behaviour has revealed.

This comes even as drugs and alcohol contributed to 80 fatal crashes, 144 serious injury crashes and 479 minor crashes in 2016, according to NZTA figures.

The study headed by Heineken, as part of their "When you drive, never drink" campaign, involved five bars, three from Auckland and two from Christchurch, across 1256 survey respondents.

But the new study found having "nudges", or preventative measures, in place will make people think twice about getting behind the wheel.

The study looked at Kiwi drink-driving habits at bars on a usual week of operation, then again a week later with new measures in place.


It found that most New Zealanders, 59 per cent, will drive to a bar. Nine out of 10 drivers decided to drink and drive before arriving at a bar.

A majority, 68 per cent, of drivers said they were happy to have one or two drinks before driving to another destination.

After the survey, in Auckland 89 per cent of patrons were driving home after drinking alcohol, and after intervention measures that dropped to 82 per cent.

Christchurch dropped 2 per cent to 82 per cent.

The Zookeeper's Son manager Alok Ravineran said for the most part the survey had been a success.

Customers of the Royal Oak watering hole were on board and were keen to hear about the message.

He said the biggest improvement for him was that all bar staff had confidence in pointing sober drivers to alcohol-free options, and providing advice.

Previously, it had been only management that were confident enough to spread the message.


The bar would operate much the same after the survey and didn't have any plans to put up further signage.

In the South Island, Pegasus Arms owner Alex Brackstone said that after 20 years in the industry, he felt the landscape of drink-driving had changed dramatically.

"The big change we see is that the attitude has changed with the older generation."

Following the survey the bar was keeping up the signage of "when you drive, don't drink" in the bar and in the toilets.

DB Breweries managing director Peter Simons said the survey illustrated that many people made their own rules around how much alcohol they could drink before "safely" getting behind the wheel.

"While over the course of the pilot study we saw a small decrease in the numbers of people driving home after drinking, we also found that nine out of 10 people driving to bars and restaurants had already decided to drink alcohol and drive home before they had left the house."

An effective tool to stop drink driving was that using prevention measure could sway a person's decision to drive after drinking alcohol before they leave the house or step in a car.

A spokesperson for Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) said the organisation supported initiatives aimed at reducing harm on roads. This includes the effects of alcohol on drivers and all road users, young and old.

"Our seasonal aim is the same as the other 364 days in the year and that is to have everyone return safely to friends, whanau and colleagues.

"The choice to drive under the influence of alcohol can impact on more than the driver and it can affect Kiwis who didn't have any say in the matter."

The measures in place for the study were mostly offered already, or supported by Hospitality NZ.

Hospitality New Zealand advocacy and policy manager Nadine Mehlhopt said measures like "don't drink and drive" posters were offered to HNZ members and venues were already required to provide alternative transport options, have food and water freely available as well as low and non-alcoholic drinks offered at all times.

"Hospitality New Zealand also works actively to encourage responsible drinking and behaviour among patrons.

"We feel that it is of benefit to the community as a whole to encourage safe and responsible drinking and behaviour, especially in regards to driving, and have been actively supporting our members and their customers to make this possible.


• Clear availability of alcohol-free drinks

• Food for drivers

• Rewards for sober drivers

• Zero per cent beers on the bar

• Staff wearing T-shirts reading 'When You Drive, Never Drink', and complimentary keyrings with the same message

• Barmats directing people to alcohol-free drinks and zero per cent beers

• Digital, outdoor and carpark signage

• Heineken staff telling people about the never drink campaign

Bars in the study

• The Postman's Leg - Glenfield, Auckland

• The Zookeeper's Son - Royal Oak, Auckland

• The Merchant - Albany, Auckland

• The Pegasus Arms - Christchurch central

• Morrell & Co - Addington, Christchurch