Drunk Driving

 

Blood Alcohol Limits

 

Worldwide

 

  

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The first table, below, shows the latest known blood alcohol concentration limits (B.A.C.) from various countries around the world and is updated whenever possible.

 

If you know of any unlisted or amended limits, please DO contact us -- preferably with a verifiable source for the information, such as the URL for a reputable website. (Info' without such sources may still be added to the list but will be shown as unconfirmed.)

 

International Blood Alcohol Limits

as a percentage ‘Blood Alcohol Concentration’ (BAC)

 

Tables and the contents thereof are copyright ©, Eddie Wren, and 'Drive and Stay Alive Inc.,' 2003 onwards. All rights reserved.   

 

Please note that there is an error in the NHTSA document: "On DWI Laws in Other Countries" - click here for details

 

 

 

Country 

BAC limit (%) 

Source 

1

Albania 

0.01 

2

Angola

?

Unknown

3

Argentina 

0.05 

4

Armenia 

0.00 

5

Australia 

0.05 

4, 5, 6, 8 

6

Austria 

0.05 

1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 42, 50 

7

Azerbaijan 

0.00 

9, 43 

8

Bahrain

0.00  

Moslem law

9

Belarus 

0.04 

1, 43 

10

Belgium 

0.05 

1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 42. 50 

11

Belize

0.08

12

12

Bosnia Herzegovina 

0.05 

13

Brazil 

0.08 

14

Bulgaria 

0.05 

1, 2,  9, 20, 43

15

Cambodia

?

Unknown

16

Canada 

0.08 

3, 5, 9 

17

Chile

0.08  

15

18

China

0.03  

16

19

Costa Rica

0.05 (0.49)

37

20

Croatia  (see note 51)

0.05 

1, 2, 8, 42, 43

21 Cyprus

0.09 changing to 0.05

50 / 52

22

Czech Republic 

0.00 

1, 2, 9, 43, 46, 50 

23

Denmark 

0.05 

1, 2, 5, 8, 42,43, 50 

24

Ecuador

0.08

38, 45

25

Estonia 

0.00 / "0,2 per milles"

8, 20, 46 / 47, 50 

26

Fiji

0.08

17

27

Finland 

0.05 

1-5,8,31,42, 43, 50

28

France 

0.05 

1, 2,3,4,5,9,42, 50 

29

Georgia 

0.03

9, 20

30

Germany 

0.05 

1, 2, 5, 42, 43, 50

31

Ghana

0.08

18

32

Greece 

0.05 

3, 4, 5, 8, 42, 50 

33

Hungary 

0.00

1, 2, 8, 43, 46, 50

34

Iceland 

0.05

1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 42 

35

India

0.03 / 0.015

11 / 34

36

Ireland 

0.08

3, 4, 5, 8, 50 

37

Israel 

0.05

2, 4, 8 

38

Italy

0.05

9, 42, 43, 50

39

Jamaica

0.08

30

40

Japan

0.03

33

41

Jordan

0.00

35

42

Kyrgyzstan

0.00

8, 17

43

Latvia

0.05

1, 2, 8, 43, 50 

44

Lebanon

?

Unknown

45

Lithuania

0.04 / 0.00

1, 2, 9, 17, 43, 50 / 46

46

Luxembourg

0.08

1, 2,3,4,5,8,43,50 

47

Macedonia

0.05

21

48

Malaysia

0.08

17

49

Mali

0.00

Moslem law 36

50

Malta

0.08

9, 50 

51

Mauritius

0.08

17

52

Moldova, Republic of 

0.03

9, 17, 27 

53

Monaco 

0.05

54

Namibia

0.05

14

55

Netherlands

0.05

1, 2,3,4,5,8,43,50 

56

New Zealand

0.08

3, 5, 8, 39

57

Norway

0.02

1, 2, 27, 42, 43 

58

Pakistan

0.00

Moslem law

59

Peru

0.05 / 0.06

8 / 17 

60

Poland

0.02

1, 2, 3, 42, 50 

61

Portugal

0.05 / 0.02

2, 4, 8, 42, 50 / 43

62

Romania

0.00

1, 2, 8, 43, 46

63

Russia

0.05 / 0.00

22 (q.v.) / 43

64 Puerto Rico    0.08 44

65

Saudi Arabia

0.00

Moslem law

66 Serbia (and Montenegro) 

0.05

42, 43

67

Singapore

0.08

8, 23 

68

Slovak Republic / Slovakia

0.00

1, 2, 8, 43, 46, 50

69

Slovenia

0.05

1, 5, 8, 43, 50 

70

South Africa

0.05

7, 9, 14, 32, 48

71

South Korea

0.05 / 0.053

8 / 49

72

Spain

0.05

1, 2, 5, 43, 50

73

Sudan

0.02  

unconfirmed

74

Swaziland

0.10 / 0.15

24 / 13

75

Sweden

0.02

1,2,3,4,5,8,42,43, 50 

76

Switzerland

0.05 from  Jan 1, 2004

29, 42

77

Taiwan

0.05

25 (& see 40)

78

Tanzania

0.08

10

79

Thailand

0.05

26, 27

80

Turkey

0.05

1, 2, 8, 27, 43 

81

Turkmenistan

0.03

9, 27 

82 Uganda

0.08

41

83

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

0.00

Moslem law

84

United Kingdom

0.08

1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 43, 50

85

USA

0.08  (now all 50 states)

2, 3, 5, 8 

86

Uzbekistan

0.00

unconfirmed

87

Yugoslavia

0.05

1, 2 

88

Zimbabwe

0.08

10

 

 

 

Groupings

 

(n.b. *where two different levels are given, above, for one country, the higher reading has been used below)    

 

BAC 

Countries

Religion

The five listed countries currently believed to have a zero blood-alcohol limit primarily or specifically for reasons of religion are: Bahrain, Mali, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, & UAE -- these are NOT included in any DSA totals or calculations showing what proportion of countries fall into certain BAC bands

Zero 

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Hungary, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, Slovak Republic, (Uzbekistan)   (10 countries)

0.01%

Albania 

0.02%

Estonia*, Norway, Poland, (Sudan), Sweden   (5)

0.03%

China, Georgia*, India, Japan, Moldova, Turkmenistan   (6)

0.04% 

Belarus, Lithuania*    (2)

  

0.05%

  

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Macedonia, Monaco, Namibia, Netherlands, Portugal*, Russia*, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Yugoslavia     (35)

0.06%

Peru*

0.08%

Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Fiji, Ghana, Ireland, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom, USA, Zimbabwe   (21)

0.10%

Possibly Swaziland, but see 0.15%, below.  [Many American states had this limit but Delaware was the last to sign up for a 0.08% limit, in July 2004.]

0.15%

Swaziland*   (1)                        (82 applicable countries, excluding religion-mandated zeros)

  

Note: At least 72% (i.e. 60) of the 83 applicable countries have a BAC limit =/< 0.05% (excluding religiously-mandated zero limits)

 

 

Sources for Table

 

  1. ‘Permissible Level of Alcohol in the Blood’. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (‘OECD’)  http://www1.oecd.org/cem/topics/safety/Alcohol.pdf

  2. United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. ‘Collection and Dissemination of Information on National Requirements Concerning Road Safety (28 Jan., 2003) Table 6.

  3. ‘Alcohol Health and Research World, 1993,’ as quoted by The Christian Science Monitor, September 3 1997 (Peter Grier).

  4. Alcoweb  http://www.alcoweb.com

  5. ‘Traffic Tech’ number 221, May 2000; NHTSA. http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/outreach/traftech/pub/tt221.html

  6. ‘A-09 Alcohol Laws in Australia’ SOGOG Public Information; State Library of NSW.  

  7. ‘A Profile of Fatal Injuries in South Africa,’ SA Health Info., 2001. http://www.sahealthinfo.org/violence/nimssannual2001.htm

  8. International Center for Alcohol Policies (correct as at Sept., 2002)

  9. International Center for Alcohol Policies (correct as at May, 2002) [ibid]

  10. The Norwegian Institute of Transport Economics (TØI): 'Implementation of Road Accident Countermeasures -- Problems and Possibilities -- Examples from Africa and Scandinavia'

  11. Delhi Traffic Police Website

  12. The Belize North website

  13. The Go To Africa - Swaziland Travel webpage

  14. Budget Car Rental page for Namibia

  15. Columbus Travel Guides -- Chile

  16. The Shanghai Star newspaper -- March 13, 2003

  17. Alcohol Control Policies -- World Health Organisation (undated, but some is out of date)

  18. Understanding the knowledge and attitudes of commercial drivers in Ghana regarding alcohol impaired driving, Injury Prevention, 2002

  19. Driving in Japan -- City of Obihiro

  20. The Scottish Executive -- International Alcohol Policies: A selected literature review

  21. http://www.erceurope.com/macedonia/life_driving.php

  22. BBC World News, 24 July 2003. Russia's limit is raised from 0.00% to 0.05%

  23. Alpine Car Rental -- Singapore page

  24. HotelUS.com

  25. Taiwan Beverage Alcohol Forum   (see also reference 40)

  26. The Globe Magazine

  27. ABC News -- America the Irresponsible -- Dec 19, 2002.

  28. Expatriate Information

  29. TISPOL -- The European Traffic Police Network -- Newsroom

  30. Jamaica Police -- breath test webpage

  31. Finland Police, drunk driving webpage (which also gave the limit for "aggravated drunk driving" at 0.12%)

  32. BuaNews, Pretoria: Article -- "More Motorists Drive Under Influence of Alcohol", December 29, 2003.

  33. Stars and Stripes, Pacific edition, Sunday, January 4, 2004; 'Base uses sign to deter DUIs', "In Japan, the legal limit is a 0.03 blood-alcohol level, far lower than the 0.08 limit in many U.S. states..."

  34. Confirmation of existing data, by the India Embassy, Washington DC, Jan 2004.

  35. E-mail from the Jordan Embassy, Washington DC, Jan 12, 2004.

  36. E-mail from the Mali Embassy, Washington DC, Jan 12, 2004.

  37. E-mail from Katharina Schlager, UK Embassy, Costa Rica, Jan 13, 2004.

  38. E-mail from UK Embassy, Ecuador, January 15, 2004.

  39. "800 micrograms of alcohol, per litre of breath... is twice the legal limit." New Zealand Police press release, 22 Jan., 2004.

  40. The China Post, Taiwan, May 7 2004, in an article about the arrest of entertainer Jackie Wu: "...drivers found to contain a alcohol-blood density level of between 0.25 and 0.55 mg/liter face a fine ranging from NT$15,000 to NT$60,000, and a one-year revocation of license..."

  41. Article in the New Vision (Kampala), 23 June 2004, covering an interview with Ahimbisibwe, the Acting Commissioner of Police for Traffic and Road Safety, including:  "...regulations on alcohol [have] fixed the maximum limit at 80mg /100mls..."

  42. Article: "Advanced technology for safer vehicles and roads in Sweden", on the Sweden.se website

  43. OECD -- Permissible Level of Alcohol in the Blood

  44. Article on the eTrucker website: Blood Alcohol Limit Now .08 Nationwide

  45. E-mail from Jesús Gómez, ANETA, www.aneta.org.ec  July 2004:  "In Ecuador (South America) a 0,8 bac is a serious offence, penalty: prision from 30 to 180 days and $40 (dollars) fine. Therefore, the bac limit to be able to drive a car is 0,79."

  46. Article: "Stamping Out Drunk Driving [in Croatia]" in Transitions, 20 August, 2004.

  47. "Permitted alcohol concentration in blood is up to 0,2 per milles." Estonian Road Administration; viewed on 21 October, 2004 (and brought to our attention by  Andraes Naegele, of the EU, to whom our sincere thanks).

  48. "The legal blood alcohol limit[in South Africa] is 0.05 percent." From an article Pahad's wife fined for drink-driving on the iafrica.com website; 28 May, 2004.

  49. Stars and Stripes.  Article: USFK considers halving alcohol level needed to prompt drunk-driving charge  December 26, 2004 (U.S. Forces Korea)

  50. Drinking and Driving, from the Institute of Alcohol Studies, December 2004.

  51. On December 3, 2005, Drive and Stay Alive, Inc., received an effectively anonymous e-mail stating that "Croatia now has a zero blood alcohol limit" but we have no further information at this stage to substantiate this claim.

  52. Article:  'Cyprus to Slash Drink Driving Limit', January 2006, the Cyprus Mail (and brought to our attention by  Chris Collins, Road Safety Project Officer. Stoke-on-Trent City Council, England,  to whom our sincere thanks).

 

It is important, at this juncture, to comment on one important document that covers international drink-driving legislation, limits and punishments, 'On DWI Laws In Other Countries' from the NHTSA (DOT HS 809 037, March 2000). In Table 2 ('Summary of Sanctions for First and Multiple Offenses') it is stated that "suspension of license is possible, though rare for a first offense [in the UK]" and this is a surprising error as a suspension (a.k.a. "disqualification") is effectively mandatory and inescapable in all except the rarest circumstances in Britain, and this has been the case for at least thirty years.