Thursday, 25 January 2024 - 9:28am |
National News

Breath screening tests exceed 3 million in 2023

2 min read

Police across New Zealand performed more than three million breath screening tests (BSTs) in 2023, more than 26% above 2022 figures, and the most in a decade.

This, among other prevention work, helps show Police’s commitment to keeping everyone safe on our roads, evident in the number of road deaths in 2023 being 31 fewer than the previous year.

Police’s revised approach in recent years to breath testing allows for better balance, targeting specific risk times and locations with conducting high-volume testing to achieve a greater general deterrence effect. 

Provisional figures show there were 3,097,698 BSTs performed across the country in 2023, compared to 2.4 million in 2022.

“Police is fully committed to working alongside our partners to help prevent death and serious injury on our roads,” says Superintendent Steve Greally.

“Being visible and conducting breath tests whenever we stop a vehicle is one way we help ensure this.”

There were periods during Covid-19 when Police were not performing breath screening tests for health reasons, however, it’s important to remember that during lockdown periods there were fewer vehicles on the roads, and Police were still out monitoring driver behaviour.

“We’ve seen the impact that drink-driving has on families, and any death is one death too many.

“The breath testing data throughout 2023 is a credit to our teams right across Aotearoa who work tirelessly on preventing and enforcing the law to ensure all road users remain safe,” says Superintendent Greally. 



District – breath tests in 2023

  • Northland - 94,921
  • Waitemata - 90,910
  • Auckland City - 99,120
  • Counties/Manukau - 158,282
  • Waikato - 453,603
  • Bay of Plenty - 275,626
  • Eastern - 156,603
  • Central - 317,497
  • Wellington - 256,620
  • Tasman - 148,822
  • Canterbury - 246,853
  • Southern - 242,184
  • TMDG - 477,213
  • PNHQ - 79,444
  • National - 3,097,698


TMDG refers to the Tamaki Makaurau Deployment Group which delivers breath testing across all three Auckland Districts.

PNHQ refers to Police staff not assigned to a particular District, but instead report to Police National Headquarters or other Service Centre.

Provisional results were taken as of January 16 2024. There is a strong likelihood this number will increase as more data from devices are downloaded.

Issued by Police Media Centre