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How Much Alcohol May be Consumed if Driving a Vehicle?

Question:

How much alcohol may be consumed if driving a vehicle? Is it one drink or none at all?

Answer:

Section 65 of the National Road Traffic Act, in particular section 65 (5), specifies that no person shall either drive a motor vehicle or occupy the driverís seat of a motor vehicle whose engine is running whilst the concentration of alcohol in their breathalyzer specimen is not less than 0.24 milligrams per 1,000 millilitres, or their blood alcohol is not less than 0.05 grams per 100 millilitres. Alternatively, where the driver is a professional driver (someone who drives for a living and is the holder of a Professional Driving Permit), the concentration of alcohol in their breathalyzer specimen must be less than the 0.10 milligrams per 1 000 millilitres (0.02 grams per 100 millilitres blood).

In terms of the law, any driver cannot exceed the abovementioned alcohol limits and further, cannot refuse to have the breath or blood specimen taken from him or her.

The limit can be defined as a maximum of one unit of alcohol per hour, which constitutes 10ml of pure alcohol, based on an adult weighing 68kg. Our bodies can process only one unit of alcohol each hour. However please note that your alcohol consumption level is dependent heavily on the motoristís blood level, height, mass as well as the contents of the alcohol being consumed. It is therefore advised that when driving a vehicle, alcohol should not be consumed at all.

What does one unit represent in laymanís terms? One unit is equal to:

  • Two thirds of a beer or spirit cooler with 5% alcohol content
  • 75ml of red or white wine with an alcohol content of 12% to 14% is acceptable
  • Up to one 25ml tot of whisky and brandy

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