There are laws in Australia when it comes to drinking driving. You must know these rules, whether you are a citizen or a tourist, if you plan on using a car. Drinking intoxicated and driving is a serious offence, and refusing to take a breath test can result in a loss of license, fines, jail time, and the need to install an alcohol interlock system are all potential outcomes.
Australia’s drink-drive limit is 0.05%Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). New Zealand, Australia’s next-door neighbour, recently reduced the cap for drivers over the age of 20 to 0.05% from 0.08%, putting the two countries closer together. Even though many people assume the limit should be zero, as in countries like Brazil, Colombia and Pakistan, some tourists visit Australia from countries with no limitations on drink driving. Drivers in Angola, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Indonesia, or Vietnam are free to consume as much alcohol as they want before getting behind the wheel. With no clear drink-driving laws around the world, it’s no surprise that visitors to our country are unsure of their rights.
Anyone with an L or P Plate, conditional licence who has a first offence (BAC) reading at or above 0.05% will experience a fine, a 3-month cancellation and disqualification of driver’s license and in some instances, a mandatory alcohol interlock for at least six months.
The adjustments also refer to commercial drivers who have a zero BAC requirement and a BAC reading of less than 0.05% on their first offence.
All drink-drivers at any level will need to complete a new Behaviour Change Program (BCP), which replaces the existing Drink Driver Education program and alcohol assessments currently required of some drink-drivers.
If in doubt, don’t drive and take another way home
Brazil has a “dry law” indicating a nearly zero alcohol tolerance law regarding driving. The tolerated blood alcohol limit is 0.2g/l to allow for alcoholic mouthwashes or certain medicines. This means that consuming a beer or small glass of wine before driving is now a serious offence.