Drink driving laws around the world that tourists should know

If you’re travelling this holiday season, get to know your destination’s drink driving rules. Some countries have a legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit of 0.02, or 0.08, and some destinations might even have a strict zero tolerance rule for all drivers. 

Blood Alcohol Content, or BAC is a measure of the concentration of alcohol in a person’s blood. It is the metric most commonly used to determine a person’s level of intoxication, so you’ll find countries stating that the legal drink driving limit is 0.05%BAC or 0.02%BAC.

In some countries, the measure BrAC may be used instead and if you’re using a breathalyzer that reads in BAC, you’ll have to do some conversion.

BAC is expressed in grams of alcohol per 100ml of blood or %BAC, whereas BrAC is usually expressed as mg/l.

To convert BrAC to BAC, breathalysers use the golden ratio of 2100:1 based on the blood concentration that evaporates and is expelled in the lungs.

Or, just check out the tab below on BAC to BrAC conversions for a quick reference on what a certain BrAC level is in %BAC 😉

 

 

“I didn’t know!” or “I’m just travelling” will not suffice as an excuse if you get caught drink driving abroad. Tourists can get fined for drink driving and even lose their licenses, so being careful about your BAC level is important if you plan to drink and rent a car while abroad.

We’ve compiled some handy resources on the legal drink driving limits around the world that you can refer to before your next holiday. Click on the tabs below to switch between the infographic table, the full list of all the countries and their recorded drink driving limits, and the BAC to BrAC conversion chart.

Bookmark this page, share it with your travel buddies, and take note of the legal BAC limits around the world so that you don’t get caught in a police cell in a foreign country instead of being out enjoying yourself with your friends and family!

  • Infographic
     
  • Drink Driving Limits by Country
  • BAC to BrAC Conversion Table

This great little table by Allianz Global Assistance provides a quick snapshot of the legal drink driving limits around the world, including those with zero tolerance that you should definitely take note of.

 

 

source: The Australian, 2015

 

This comprehensive table of the legal BAC limits around the world from the World Health Organisation is an excellent guide for tourists.

Legal blood alcohol concentration (%BAC) limits around the world
Country
General population
Young/novice drivers
Professional/commercial drivers
Afghanistan
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Albania
0.05
0.05
0.05
Algeria
0.02
0.02
0.02
Andorra
0.05
0.05
0.02
Angola
0.06
0.06
0.06
Antigua and Barbuda
none
none
none
Argentina
0.05
0.05
zero tolerance
Armenia
0.04
0.04
0.04
Australia
0.05
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Austria
0.05
0.01
0.01
Azerbaijan
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Bahamas
0.08
0.08
0.08
Bahrain      
Bangladesh
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Barbados
none
none
none
Belarus
0.03
0.03
0.03
Belgium
0.05
0.05
0.05
Belize
0.08
0.08
0.08
Benin
0.05
0.05
0.05
Bhutan
0.08
0.08
zero tolerance
Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
none
none
0.05
Bosnia and Herzegovina
0.03
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Botswana
0.08
0.08
0.08
Brazil
0.02
0.02
0.02
Brunei Darussalam
0.08
0.08
0.08
Bulgaria
0.05
0.05
0.05
Burkina Faso      
Burundi
none
none
none
Côte d’Ivoire
0.08
0.08
0.08
Cabo Verde
0.08
0.08
0.08
Cambodia
0.05
0.05
0.05
Cameroon
0.08
0.08
0.08
Canada
Sub-national
zero tolerance
Sub-national
Central African Republic
0.08
0.08
0.08
Chad
0.05
0.05
0.05
Chile
0.03
0.03
0.03
China
0.02
0.02
0.02
Colombia
0.04
0.04
0.04
Comoros
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Congo
0.08
0.08
0.08
Cook Islands
0.08
0.08
0.08
Costa Rica
0.05
0.05
0.05
Croatia
0.05
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Cuba
0.05
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Cyprus
0.05
0.05
0.05
Czech Republic
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea      
Democratic Republic of the Congo
0.01
0.01
0.01
Denmark
0.05
0.05
0.05
Djibouti      
Dominica
none
none
none
Dominican Republic
0.05
0.03
0.03
Ecuador
0.03
0.03
0.01
Egypt
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
El Salvador
0.05
0.05
0.05
Equatorial Guinea
0.15
0.15
0.15
Eritrea
0.05
0.05
0.03
Estonia
0.02
0.02
0.02
Ethiopia
0.08
0.08
0.08
Fiji
0.08
0.08
0.08
Finland
0.05
0.05
0.05
France
0.05
0.05
0.05
Gabon
0.08
0.08
0.08
Gambia
none
none
none
Georgia
0.02
0.02
0.02
Germany
0.05
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Ghana
0.08
0.08
0.08
Greece
0.05
0.02
0.02
Grenada
none
none
none
Guatemala
none
none
none
Guinea
0.08
0.08
0.08
Guinea-Bissau
0.15
0.15
0.15
Guyana
0.08
0.08
0.08
Haiti      
Honduras
0.07
0.07
0.07
Hungary
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Iceland
0.05
0.05
0.05
India
0.03
0.03
0.03
Indonesia
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Iran (Islamic Republic of)
total ban
total ban
total ban
Iraq
0.08
0.08
0.08
Ireland
0.05
0.02
0.02
Israel
0.05
0.01
0.01
Italy
0.05
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Jamaica
0.08
0.08
0.08
Japan
0.03
0.03
0.03
Jordan
0.05
0.05
0.05
Kazakhstan
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Kenya
none
none
none
Kiribati
0.08
0.08
0.08
Kuwait      
Kyrgyzstan
0.05
0.05
0.05
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
0.08
0.08
0.08
Latvia
0.05
0.02
0.05
Lebanon      
Lesotho
0.08
0.08
0.08
Liberia
0.05
0.05
0.05
Libya
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Lithuania
0.04
0.02
0.02
Luxembourg
0.05
0.02
0.02
Madagascar
0.08
0.08
0.08
Malawi
0.08
0.08
0.08
Malaysia
0.08
0.08
0.08
Maldives
total ban
total ban
total ban
Mali
0.03
0.03
0.03
Malta
0.08
0.08
0.08
Marshall Islands      
Mauritania
total ban
total ban
total ban
Mauritius
0.05
0.05
0.05
Mexico
sub-national
sub-national
sub-national
Micronesia (Federated States of)
0.05
0.05
0.05
Monaco
0.05
0.05
0.05
Mongolia
0.05
0.05
0.05
Montenegro
0.05
0.05
0.05
Morocco      
Mozambique
0.06
0.06
0.06
Myanmar
0.07
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Namibia
0.08
0.08
0.08
Nauru      
Nepal
none
none
none
Netherlands
0.05
0.02
0.05
New Zealand
0.08
zero tolerance
0.08
Nicaragua
0.05
0.05
0.05
Niger
none
none
none
Nigeria
0.05
0.05
0.05
Niue
0.08
0.08
0.08
Norway
0.02
0.02
0.02
Oman
0.08
0.08
0.08
Pakistan
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Palau
0.1
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Panama
0.05
0.05
0.05
Papua New Guinea
none
none
none
Paraguay
none
none
none
Peru
0.05
0.05
0.05
Philippines
0.05
0.05
0.05
Poland
0.02
0.02
0.02
Portugal
0.05
0.05
0.05
Qatar
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Republic of Korea
0.05
0.05
0.05
Republic of Moldova
0.03
0.03
0.03
Romania
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Russian Federation
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Rwanda
0.08
0.08
0.08
Saint Kitts and Nevis
0.08
0.08
0.08
Saint Lucia
0.08
0.08
0.08
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
none
none
none
Samoa
0.04
0.04
0.04
San Marino
0.05
0.05
0.05
Sao Tome and Principe
0.05
0.05
0.05
Saudi Arabia
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Senegal
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Serbia
0.03
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Seychelles
0.08
0.08
0.08
Sierra Leone
none
none
none
Singapore
0.08
0.08
0.08
Slovakia
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Slovenia
0.05
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Solomon Islands      
Somalia      
South Africa
0.05
0.05
0.05
South Sudan      
Spain
0.05
0.03
0.03
Sri Lanka
0.08
0.08
0.08
Sudan
total ban
total ban
total ban
Suriname
0.05
0.05
0.05
Swaziland
0.05
0.05
0.05
Sweden
0.02
0.02
0.02
Switzerland
0.05
0.05
0.05
Syrian Arab Republic
0.05
0.05
0.05
Tajikistan
0.03
0.03
0.03
Thailand
0.05
0.05
zero tolerance
The former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia
0.05
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Timor-Leste
0.05
0.05
0.05
Togo
none
none
none
Tonga
0.03
0.03
0.03
Trinidad and Tobago
0.08
0.08
0.08
Tunisia
0.05
0.05
zero tolerance
Turkey
0.05
0.05
zero tolerance
Turkmenistan
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Tuvalu
none
none
none
Uganda
0.08
0.08
0.08
Ukraine
0.02
0.02
0.02
United Arab Emirates      
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
0.08
0.08
0.08
United Republic of Tanzania
0.08
0.08
zero tolerance
United States of America
0.08
sub-national
0.04
Uruguay
0.03
0.03
zero tolerance
Uzbekistan
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Vanuatu      
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
0.08
0.08
0.08
Viet Nam
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
zero tolerance
Yemen
total ban
total ban
total ban
Zambia
0.08
0.08
0.08
Zimbabwe
0.08
0.08
0.08
  • %BAC mg/l (BRAC) µg/l mg/100ml ‰(mg/ml)/permille
    0.01 0.05 50 10 0.10
    0.02 0.10 100 20 0.20
    0.04 0.20 200 40 0.40
    0.05 0.25 250 50 0.50
    0.06 0.30 300 60 0.60
    0.08 0.40 400 80 0.80
    0.10 0.50 500 100 1.00
    0.12 0.60 600 120 1.20
    0.14 0.70 700 140 1.40
    0.16 0.80 800 160 1.60
    0.18 0.90 900 180 1.80
    0.20 1.00 1000 200 2.00
             

Before you travel, remember that laws are always changing, and these legal BAC limits might have been updated since this post.

Legal limits can also vary depending on age, state, province, etc. and different metrics are used to determine BAC, such as breathalyzer, blood test or urinalysis.

Therefore these legal limits for operation of a vehicle are not exhaustive, and potentially incorrect.

ALWAYS CHECK THE RULES IN YOUR COUNTRY OF TRAVEL IF YOU PLAN TO DRIVE A VEHICLE.

 

In France, for example, it was enforced in 2012 that drivers of all motor vehicles and motorcycles must carry a breathalyser.

Even if you don’t plan to drink while you’re travelling, checking other rules such as prohibitions on using mobile or GPS devices while driving, seatbelt regulations, seat requirements for children in the car, and even eating or drinking in the car, is important so that you don’t cop a heavy fine while travelling.

For example, Barrington Freight and News.com.au highlighted some peculiar road rules you might find on one of your travels:

  • In Cyprus, eating or drinking anything (even water!) while driving is illegal
  • On the other hand, in Costa Rica, it is legal to drink and drive, but not to drive drunk
  • In Russia, you’ll be fined for driving a dirty car
  • In Sweden, it is illegal to drive without headlights, even in daylight
  • In Japan, you’ll be fined if you splash a pedestrian with rainwater while passing by
  • In Singapore, it’s against the law for a driver to come within 50 metres of a pedestrian
  • In Spain, you have to carry an extra set of glasses in your car at all times, even if you’re already wearing a pair!
  • In Japan as well, sober passengers in the car with a drunk driver can be punished under the law

 

If you do plan to drink while abroad, it’s a good idea to bring along your breathalyzer so you can check your BAC, and also ensure that it is calibrated before you go.

Browse our range of personal breathalyzers that would be perfect for travelling thanks to their lightweight and compact size!

No matter where you’re going, remember to be safe and if you plan to drive, don’t drink.

Vivien Mah

Vivien Mah

Vivien is a Digital Marketing specialist with a background in psychology and communications, and a passion for educating readers and unraveling complexities behind difficult topics through extensive research. Apart from sharing her love for infographics, she also posts regularly on new products, announcements, media mentions and the latest news.

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