How Much Can You Drink and Drive in Australia?

Alcohol laws in Australia

Enforcing laws regarding alcoholic beverages help reduce the harmful effects of alcohol consumption by individuals. Some rules, like the legal drinking age, are the same across Australia. However, laws, where you are allowed to drink, drink and drive offences and DUI penalties, can vary depending on the state or territory.

The measurement of alcohol in your bloodstream is called blood alcohol concentration (BAC). BAC is what law enforcers test by using alcohol breath testers. When you have a blood alcohol content of 0.05%, that means that there is 0.05g of alcohol in every 100 ml of blood. Furthermore, if you plan to drink and drive, remember that a BAC of 0.05% is the legal limit for driving in Australia. BACtrack devices help with self BAC monitoring.

 Laws that apply in Australia

  • Drink driving – Driving with a BAC of 0.05% or more is illegal. And if you are on a learner’s or provisional licence, you cannot drink and drive, and your BAC must always be 0.00%.
  • Legal drinking age – It is illegal to drink when you are still a minor. You must be 18 or older to consume or buy alcoholic beverages at a licensed venue.
  • Selling Alcohol – it is illegal to sell alcohol to individuals under 18 or someone already intoxicated and at their limit.
  • Labelling – The product packaging must show how many standard drinks it contains clearly.
  • Where it is legal to drink – there are areas in Australia where you cannot drink alcohol. Please check with your state or territory for further information about alcohol restrictions in your place.

Drinking and Driving

If you plan to go out and consume alcohol, you might want to consider using public transport, ridesharing, or going out with a friend who can be the designated driver. It is illegal to drink and drive in Australia if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over 0.05%. Even with a BAC below 0.05%, your judgement, reaction times, and driving skills could be affected. You are twice as likely to have an accident when driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.05% or more versus no alcohol in your system. Nowadays, before driving, people can take advantage of the accuracy of BACtrack personal breathalyzers to check if they are still under the limit. 

 You must have zero blood alcohol content (BAC) and can’t drink and drive in most Australian states or territories if you:

  • Have a learner’s or probationary driver’s license.
  • Are a provisional driver
  • Are a driving instructor or truck and bus driver.
  • Have an existing DUI offence 
  • Are a visiting driver with an overseas or interstate learner, provisional or equivalent licence.

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