Auckland woman’s breath-alcohol test nearly nine times legal limit, police say

Northland's top roading cop has described the woman's breath-alcohol level as "staggering".

Northland’s top roading cop has described the woman’s breath-alcohol level as “staggering”.
Photo: Supplied / NZ Police

An Auckland woman has blown one of the highest breath-alcohol levels ever recorded by New Zealand police.

A member of the public called police after spotting the 36-year-old behind the wheel in Whangārei, Northland, last month.

A roadside test revealed a breath-alcohol level of 2178 micrograms, almost nine times the legal limit.

Police say she been staying at Whangārei Heads but drove to Corks Road in Tikipunga – a distance of more than 30km – after an argument.

She was taken to Whangārei Police Station where her licence was suspended for 28 days. She is due in court next month.

Northland road policing manager Anne-Marie Fitchett said no one wanted to share the road with impaired drivers.

“This amount of alcohol is staggering,” she said.

“Staff have been committed to carrying out a large number of checkpoints across the district and our EBA [excess breath alcohol] and drugged driver apprehensions are high as a result.

“Good police work, combined with public support will make a difference over time. This is a long game where we are trying to change intergenerational behaviours,” Fitchett said.

The legal limit for drivers aged 20 and over is 250 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. For a blood test the limit is 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

Drivers aged under 20 are subject to a zero limit.

The highest breath-alcohol level recorded in 2023 was 1977 micrograms – eight times the limit – by a man in Waitematā.

Police statistics show alcohol, along with speed and failing to wear seatbelts, remains a major cause of road deaths in Northland.

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