Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking

CBT and Media Campaign, New Zealand



Implementer:  Alcohol and Public Health Research Unit (APHRU), University of Auckland

Partners: The Centre for Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Coalition to Reduce Drinking and Driving (CRDD)

Program Overview: This program involves a multi-component approach to compulsory breath testing (CBT) in which all drivers stopped are tested. The three incremental approaches include (1) intensive, moderate-profile CBT (plus zero alcohol tolerance for drivers under age 20), (2) CBT plus an enhanced media campaign, and (3) shifting to aggressively visible booze buses, which also streamlined drunk-driver processing, plus enhanced community campaigns against drunk-driving.

Program Design: Implementation of this CBT program can be seen in three distinct phases. In 1993, CBT began as a mix of mobile and moderate-profile fixed breath testing, plus a national publicity campaign and a zero tolerance law. In 1995, this program was enhanced by a more intensive publicity campaign. The publicity adopted much harder hitting messages, patterned on shock advertising. In 1996, the regional introduction of booze buses added highly visible enforcement, streamlined processing, auditing of reported vehicle stops, and an increased community emphasis.

Complementary community actions included a Community Alcohol Action Program in Auckland City that rewarded sober night-time drivers, a national host responsibility campaign, regional community-based programs in South and West Auckland, the implementation of major driver licensing and seatbelt initiatives in Northland, and a rural drunk-driving project in the Te Awamutu police district.

Evaluation: A Box-Jenkins auto-regressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) time series analysis estimated the impact on serious and fatal injury crashes between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., a proxy for alcohol-related crashes. Crash data from 1987 through September 1997 came from official LTSA accident report files.

Cost savings were also analyzed from four perspectives: societal, governmental, drunk-drivers’, and people other than drunk-drivers (external cost).

Key findings: CBT plus zero tolerance reduced expected night-time crashes by 22.1% and enhanced media by 13.9%. Booze buses yielded a further 27.4% reduction where implemented. The program and associated crash reduction persisted until at least 2001 (the most recent data at that time).

-CBT is best implemented in conjunction with broader community-centered efforts to reduce drunk-driving.


Miller, T., Blewden, M., & Zhang, J. (2004). Cost savings from a sustained compulsory breath testing and media campaign in New Zealand. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 36(5), 783-794.

Target Audience: Adults of legal drinking age, General population
Issues: Drinking and Driving
Setting: Local government/ law enforcement departments, Media (including social media), School clubs or community organizations
Approach: Multi-Component
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