Deaths on New Zealand roads involving drunk drivers reached a ten-year peak last year with 33 more fatalities than in 2021.

One hundred and eleven people died in 2022 in incidents where a driver was over the limit according to Waka Kotahi figures obtained by the Automobile Association (AA) through the Official Information Act.

Automobile Association road safety spokesperson Dylan Thomsen said the leap in alcohol related fatalities was “hugely concerning.”

“Right now New Zealand is losing the battle on drunk driving,” he said. “The numbers are getting worse rather than better and we have to flip that around.”

Between 2018 and 2022 the three worst affected regions were Waikato (132 deaths where a person was above the limit, and where alcohol was present but below the legal limit) Auckland (89) and Northland (79).

The AA has called for more alcohol checkpoints, which it said were a “critical tool” in preventing deaths and serious injuries on the roads.

The organization added that increased breath testing was not a singular solution to curbing road deaths, but an important road safety measure in conjunction with more use of alcohol interlocks, specialist alcohol and other drug courts and rehabilitation treatment for drunk drivers that are caught.