Blood Alcohol Limits Worldwide

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

1Albania0.019
2Angola?Unknown
3Argentina0.059
4Armenia0.008
5Australia0.054, 5, 6, 8
6Austria0.051, 2, 3, 5, 8, 42, 50
7Azerbaijan0.009, 43
8Bahrain0.00Moslem law
9Belarus0.041, 43
10Belgium0.051, 2, 3, 5, 9, 42. 50
11Belize0.0812
12Bosnia Herzegovina0.059
13Brazil0.085
14Bulgaria0.051, 2,  9, 20, 43
15Cambodia?Unknown
16Canada0.083, 5, 9
17Chile0.0815
18China0.0316
19Costa Rica0.05 (0.49)37
20Croatia  (see note 51)0.051, 2, 8, 42, 43
21Cyprus0.09 changing to 0.0550 / 52
22Czech Republic0.001, 2, 9, 43, 46, 50
23Denmark0.051, 2, 5, 8, 42,43, 50
24Ecuador0.0838, 45
25Estonia0.00 / “0,2 per milles”8, 20, 46 / 47, 50
26Fiji0.0817
27Finland0.051-5,8,31,42, 43, 50
28France0.051, 2,3,4,5,9,42, 50
29Georgia0.039, 20
30Germany0.051, 2, 5, 42, 43, 50
31Ghana0.0818
32Greece0.053, 4, 5, 8, 42, 50
33Hungary0.001, 2, 8, 43, 46, 50
34Iceland0.051, 2, 3, 4, 8, 42
35India0.03 / 0.01511 / 34
36Ireland0.083, 4, 5, 8, 50
37Israel0.052, 4, 8
38Italy0.059, 42, 43, 50
39Jamaica0.0830
40Japan0.0333
41Jordan0.0035
42Kyrgyzstan0.008, 17
43Latvia0.051, 2, 8, 43, 50
44Lebanon?Unknown
45Lithuania0.04 / 0.001, 2, 9, 17, 43, 50 / 46
46Luxembourg0.081, 2,3,4,5,8,43,50
47Macedonia0.0521
48Malaysia0.0817
49Mali0.00Moslem law 36
50Malta0.089, 50
51Mauritius0.0817
52Moldova, Republic of0.039, 17, 27
53Monaco0.052
54Namibia0.0514
55Netherlands0.051, 2,3,4,5,8,43,50
56New Zealand0.083, 5, 8, 39
57Norway0.021, 2, 27, 42, 43
58Pakistan0.00Moslem law
59Peru0.05 / 0.068 / 17
60Poland0.021, 2, 3, 42, 50
61Portugal0.05 / 0.022, 4, 8, 42, 50 / 43
62Romania0.001, 2, 8, 43, 46
63Russia0.05 / 0.0022 (q.v.) / 43
64Puerto Rico0.0844
65Saudi Arabia0.00Moslem law
66Serbia (and Montenegro)0.0542, 43
67Singapore0.088, 23
68Slovak Republic / Slovakia0.001, 2, 8, 43, 46, 50
69Slovenia0.051, 5, 8, 43, 50
70South Africa0.057, 9, 14, 32, 48
71South Korea0.05 / 0.0538 / 49
72Spain0.051, 2, 5, 43, 50
73Sudan0.02unconfirmed
74Swaziland0.10 / 0.1524 / 13
75Sweden0.021,2,3,4,5,8,42,43, 50
76Switzerland0.05 from  Jan 1, 200429, 42
77Taiwan0.0525 (& see 40)
78Tanzania0.0810
79Thailand0.0526, 27
80Turkey0.051, 2, 8, 27, 43
81Turkmenistan0.039, 27
82Uganda0.0841
83United Arab Emirates (UAE)0.00Moslem law
84United Kingdom0.081, 2, 3, 4, 9, 43, 50
85USA0.08  (now all 50 states)2, 3, 5, 8
86Uzbekistan0.00unconfirmed
87Yugoslavia0.051, 2
88Zimbabwe0.0810

 

 

 

Groupings

 

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

 

BAC Countries
ReligionThe 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
ZeroArmenia, 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. ‘Traffic Tech’ number 221, May 2000; NHTSA. http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/outreach/traftech/pub/tt221.html
  5. ‘A-09 Alcohol Laws in Australia’ SOGOG Public Information; State Library of NSW.
  6. ‘A Profile of Fatal Injuries in South Africa,’ SA Health Info., 2001. http://www.sahealthinfo.org/violence/nimssannual2001.htm
  7. International Center for Alcohol Policies (correct as at Sept., 2002)
  8. International Center for Alcohol Policies (correct as at May, 2002) [ibid]
  9. The Norwegian Institute of Transport Economics (TØI): ‘Implementation of Road Accident Countermeasures — Problems and Possibilities — Examples from Africa and Scandinavia’
  10. Delhi Traffic Police Website
  11. The Belize North website
  12. The Go To Africa – Swaziland Travel webpage
  13. Budget Car Rental page for Namibia
  14. Columbus Travel Guides — Chile
  15. The Shanghai Star newspaper — March 13, 2003
  16. Alcohol Control Policies — World Health Organisation (undated, but some is out of date)
  17. Understanding the knowledge and attitudes of commercial drivers in Ghana regarding alcohol impaired driving, Injury Prevention, 2002
  18. Driving in Japan — City of Obihiro
  19. The Scottish Executive — International Alcohol Policies: A selected literature review
  20. BBC World News, 24 July 2003. Russia’s limit is raised from 0.00% to 0.05%
  21. Alpine Car Rental — Singapore page
  22. HotelUS.com
  23. Taiwan Beverage Alcohol Forum   (see also reference 40)
  24. The Globe Magazine
  25. ABC News — America the Irresponsible — Dec 19, 2002.
  26. Expatriate Information
  27. TISPOL — The European Traffic Police Network — Newsroom
  28. Jamaica Police — breath test webpage
  29. Finland Police, drunk driving webpage (which also gave the limit for “aggravated drunk driving” at 0.12%)
  30. BuaNews, Pretoria: Article — “More Motorists Drive Under Influence of Alcohol”, December 29, 2003.
  31. 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…”
  32. Confirmation of existing data, by the India Embassy, Washington DC, Jan 2004.
  33. E-mail from the Jordan Embassy, Washington DC, Jan 12, 2004.
  34. E-mail from the Mali Embassy, Washington DC, Jan 12, 2004.
  35. E-mail from Katharina Schlager, UK Embassy, Costa Rica, Jan 13, 2004.
  36. E-mail from UK Embassy, Ecuador, January 15, 2004.
  37. “800 micrograms of alcohol, per litre of breath… is twice the legal limit.” New Zealand Police press release, 22 Jan., 2004.
  38. 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…”
  39. 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…”
  40. Article: “Advanced technology for safer vehicles and roads in Sweden”, on the Sweden.se website
  41. OECD — Permissible Level of Alcohol in the Blood
  42. Article on the eTrucker website: Blood Alcohol Limit Now .08 Nationwide
  43. 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.”
  44. Article: “Stamping Out Drunk Driving [in Croatia]” in Transitions, 20 August, 2004.
  45. “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).
  46. “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.
  47. Stars and Stripes.  Article: USFK considers halving alcohol level needed to prompt drunk-driving charge  December 26, 2004 (U.S. Forces Korea)
  48. Drinking and Driving, from the Institute of Alcohol Studies, December 2004.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.