People who drove at all on the survey days were asked to record the amounts - as well as types - of alcohol they drank during that period. Drinking session times were recorded in both the 1989/90 and 1997/98 surveys, but the type and amount of alcohol are available for the 1997/98 survey only.

The following chart shows a comparison between 1989/90 and 1997/98 drinking patterns. It refers to the average amount of time (per person) spent in drinking session hours, per week.

  • The largest decreases in drinking time have occurred in younger age groups, particularly the under 30s.
  • There have been increases in drinking time for older age groups.

Average time spent in drinking sessions

Average time spent in drinking sessions

In the 1997/98 survey, people were also asked what type of drinks and the amount they had consumed. In deciding whether drivers were likely to be alcohol impaired, consideration was given to the amount of alcohol consumed, normal rates of absorption and elimination of alcohol from the blood, and the time lag between drinking and driving. "High alcohol hours" are defined as those between 10pm and 4am daily, plus 4am-6am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

More information

Find out more about about the NZ Police and NZTA enforcement and advertising campaign(external link) to stop drink-driving.


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