On 1 December 2014 the breath alcohol limit for drivers aged 20 years and over reduced from 400 micrograms (mcg) of alcohol per litre of breath, to 250mcg. The blood alcohol limit reduced from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, to 50mg (or 0.05 grams). Also written as B.A.C 0.05
Drivers who test between 251-400mcg of breath face an infringement fee of $200 and 50 demerit points. Drivers in this range will not be able to elect an evidential blood test. Drivers who accumulate 100 or more demerit points from driving offences within two years will receive a three month driver licence suspension.
Drivers who are over 400mcg of alcohol per litre of breath, or 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, continue to face criminal sanctions as is currently the case.
The ZERO alcohol limit for drivers under the age of 20 remains the same
What is BAC?
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is a measure of the amount of alcohol in a persons's body. It is measured in grams of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
BAC is used as an indication of the impact alcohol consumption is likely to have on an individual's ability to control their actions and their behaviour.
What will alcohol do to me?
It depends on many factors – your body size, gender, what you’ve had to eat, the mood you’re in and how quickly you drink. But, no matter how tall you are or what you’ve had for dinner, alcohol’s a toxin, and can cause serious damage to your body.
We’re looking at mental confusion, vomiting, blackouts, irregular breathing and in excessive cases – death. Don’t be that guy.
Some of the factors affecting Bac
There are many factors affecting BAC including:
- Amount of alcohol consumed
- body weight
- amount and type of food eaten
- time since eating
- state of fitness
- state of individual's liver
- regularity of drinking
- rate of metabolism
- state of fatigue
- mood at time
- hormone levels
So as you can see the affect of alcohol and your body and your mates will vary so it is important for your safety and others not to try and match each other drink for drink
Females generally have smaller livers than males and their bodies contain more fat with less water to dilute the alcohol. Therefore females are affected more by lower levels of alcohol!
Information and a guide on New Zealand guide to standard drinks can be viewed here.
An Australian pamphlet with lots of further information about alcohol can be downloaded here.
How quickly does the BAC drop?
BAC reduces by approximately 0.015 each hour after drinking has stopped.
Why should I not drink and drive?
If you drink alcohol and drive you might crash, injure or kill yourself or your mates or someone else.
What is the penalty for drink driving?
For a first-time offender charged with drink driving, the standard penalty is imprisonment for up to three months or a $2250 fine, and disqualification from driving for a minimum of three months.
For more information of the penalties for drink driving click here
I can’t afford to get a taxi – what are my other options to get home?
Taxis can be expensive so make sure you check out what buses travel near your house and ask your parents, or your friends’ parents, if it’s OK to call on them if your plans fail.
They would much rather you call them in an emergency than risk your life with a drunk driver.
How much am I allowed to drink if I’m driving?
Drivers under 20 years of age have a limit of ZERO – consuming just one drink, and having even a drop of alcohol in your system, means you can be charged with drink driving.
Be careful that you don’t drive the morning after a big night out as you could potentially still have alcohol in your system.
My friend was meant to sober drive but has been drinking – what do I do?
If your friend is planning on driving then it’s best to take the keys off them and organise an alternative way home for you and your mates (call your parents, taxi, bus or walk).
It’s not easy to stop a friend from driving, especially if others are encouraging it, but don’t be afraid to speak up and look after your friends. Remember: If you stop a drink driver, you're a bloody legend.