It’s never acceptable to drink and drive – this should be made abundantly clear at the start of this guide. But what are the drinking and driving laws in Australia? Since it’s different in each state, you’ll find a breakdown in this guide today!
General Drinking and Driving Laws
Firstly, everything is measured in BAC – blood alcohol content. Depending on what you read, you may also see BAC as breath alcohol concentration and by other names. However, the outcome is the same because it looks at the concentration of alcohol in your blood. This is a universal system and used in much of the Western world and Australia.
In most states, there’s a tiered system based on the BAC of drunk drivers. Depending on where they measure, they will receive a different punishment. However, other factors also decide the penalty, such as whether this is a first offence or the latest in a string of offences.
For example, New South Wales uses the following tiers:
- Novice Range (up to 0.019)
- Special Range (between 0.020 and 0.049)
- Low Range (between 0.050 and 0.079)
- Mid Range (between 0.080 and 0.0149)
- High Range (above 0.150)
While maximum fines for the first four categories are set to $2,200, this increases to $3,300 for those in the High Range. Meanwhile, minimum license disqualification is six months for the first four categories but 18 months in the High Range. Meanwhile, you can receive up to nine months in prison in the Mid Range and up to two years in the High Range.
Ultimately, each state has a variation of this tiered system. For instance, Australian Capital Territory and Queensland have four tiers while others have three or fewer. In Western Australia, those between 0.050 and 0.079 will receive an infringement notice, while those above will automatically lose their license while the case proceeds through the courts.
No matter where you’re located, you should understand the drinking and driving laws in your state.
Why You Should Never Drink and Drive
As well as fines, license disqualification, and imprisonment, there should be a moral reason not to drink and drive – the fact that you put others in danger. When you get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking, you don’t just put yourself at risk. Instead, you put every other road user in danger. This means cars with families, expectant parents, and you’re your own friends and family.
As soon as you have even a tiny amount of alcohol in your bloodstream, your driving ability decreases. Your concentration levels dip, reaction times get slower, and you can’t make good decisions. You might think that you’re immune to this, but guess what? You aren’t. In the first six months of 2019 alone, 635 people on Australian roads died in cases involving drink driving.
In addition to the repercussions and the fact that you put others in danger, you could also lose your job (especially when your job relies on driving vehicles!). Suddenly, you’re left with a criminal record, no driving license, and no source of income. See how one poor decision can ultimately turn your life upside-down?
Once you have a criminal record, you might struggle to travel to other countries and get another job. After alcohol, communication slows down between the brain and the eyes/ears, and this is why driving is so dangerous. Even after just one drink, why not get public transport, use iChauffeur Melbourne, walk home, or get a loved one to pick you up? Leaving a car in a car park for one night is better than taking an unnecessary risk!