Drinking and Driving: Understanding Blood Alcohol Concentration Limits

by Bill Vasiliadis on November 15, 2012

  • Sharebar

(Guest post regarding criminal law in NSW Australia) Every driver and motorcyclist should know about the applicable blood alcohol limits that apply in their state or territory. In NSW Australia, there are three main blood alcohol limits to be aware of. A different limit will apply to you, depending on your licence and vehicle type.

What’s the BAC?

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is a number that represents how much alcohol contained in each 100ml of blood. It’s a legal measurement that’s used to set the acceptable limit of alcohol in your blood. Which one applies depends on the type of vehicle you drive, and your licence category. A BAC limit of 0.02 means you must have under 0.02 grams of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

Zero BAC

Zero BAC means absolutely no alcohol in your blood. If a zero BAC applies to your licence category, it means you cannot drink any alcohol before riding your motorcycle or driving a vehicle.

The Zero BAC applies to everyone on a learner licence, provisional 1 licence, and provisional 2 licences. It also applies to visitors on overseas, interstate learner, provisional, or similar licences.

A NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) brochure states that it may be advisable for those subject to a zero BAC to avoid medicines and foodstuffs containing alcohol, as these can also affect your BAC level.

Under 0.02

A BAC of under 0.02 applies to all drivers of vehicles of “gross vehicle mass” of more than 13.9 tonnes. It’s possible for you to reach this BAC limit after just one standard drink.

If you’re driving a vehicle that’s carrying dangerous goods, this BAC limit will also apply to you. Taxi drivers, bus drivers, and other drivers of public vehicles are also subject to this BAC limit.

Under 0.05

The 0.05 BAC limit applies to all other drivers – those who do not fall under the zero or 0.02 BAC limit, including overseas and interstate licence holders. If a BAC of 0.05 applies to you, don’t take it for granted that you can drink a certain amount of alcohol and still be under the limit. Your ability to process alcohol is affected by your size, weight, liver health, gender, how much food you’ve had, and general health status.

According to the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, men might be able to keep their BAC under 0.05 by drinking no more than two standard drinks in the first hour, and one standard drink in each hour after the first hour. Women might keep their BAC under 0.05 by drinking no more than one standard drink each hour.

However, remember that every person processes alcohol differently. There are no fixed rules for how alcohol passes through your body. The only way to be certain of your BAC is to measure it, using a breath test device that complies with Australian Standard AS – 3547.

Keep in mind that your BAC tends to rise for up to two hours after you stop drinking alcohol, and that your BAC may still be high in the morning after you drink.

If You’ve Been Drinking

Alcohol can impair your driving ability, affect your reaction time, give you false confidence, and make it harder for you to make good decisions. The RMS recommends that you don’t drink at all if you are planning to drive, even if the 0.05 BAC applies to you.

If you’ve been drinking, you should consider taking a taxi or catching public transport rather than driving yourself. In the event you’re charged with a drink-driving offence, you should contact a traffic lawyer immediately (Sydney Criminal Lawyers in Sydney). A lawyer can help you understand your options, and ensure that your case is represented in the best possible light.

Bill Vasiliadis
Bill Vasiliadis is a professional internet marketer who enjoys writing on a wide range of topics. He currently leads the team at SEO for Small Business Pty Ltd based in Sydney, Australia.
Bill Vasiliadis
Bill Vasiliadis

No related posts.

Previous post:

Next post: