- Around 1 in 5 drivers and riders killed have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of 0.05.
- Each year around 25 people, or 1 in 6 deaths had a BAC of under 0.05.
- 77% of licence holders, around 2.7 million people will drive after having one to two drinks.
- Around 175,000 people admit to driving when they’re over 0.05.
- 1 in 6 people that are breathalysed are driving while over the limit.
Why drink driving is dangerous
Why drinking then driving is dangerous
Driving while under the influence of alcohol affects perception, vision, concentration, reaction time and causes drowsiness – all of which increase the chances of having an accident.
Alcohol can affect us in different ways from one day to the next – this means there's never a 'safe' amount to drink when you’re planning to drive.
If people avoid driving after drinking, the number of road fatalities could be reduced by up to 20% each year. That’s around 50 lives every year that could be saved.
How does alcohol affect driving performance?
Driving is a complex task requiring decision making and total concentration. Alcohol affects a driver's ability to be totally in control of his or her actions.
BAC levels and their affects:
0.02 to 0.05 BAC - the ability to see or locate moving lights correctly is diminished, as is the ability to judge distances. The tendency to take risks is increased, and the ability to respond to several stimuli is decreased.
0.05 to 0.08 BAC - the ability to judge distances is reduced, sensitivity to red lights is impaired, reactions are slower and concentration span shorter. At 0.08 BAC drivers are five times more likely to have an accident than before they started drinking.
0.08 to 0.12 BAC - euphoria sets in, overestimation of one's abilities leads to reckless driving, peripheral vision is impaired (resulting in accidents due to hitting vehicles in passing) and perception of obstacles is impaired. Drivers are up to 10 times more likely to have an accident.
The penalties If you are caught drink driving with a BAC of 0.05 or more you’ll:
Lose your licence for a minimum of 3 months
- Need to pay a fine
- Need to complete a compulsory drink driver behaviour change program; and
- Need to get an alcohol interlock installed in any vehicle you drive (once re-licensed) for at least six months.
- This also applies to commercial drivers who commit their first drink driving offence with a BAC under .05.
If you are a P plate or Learner driver you must have a BAC of 0.00 to legally drive.
More info on penalties can be found on the VicRoads website
What you can do to stay safe
- The way to avoid drink driving is simple. If you're going to drink, plan not to drive.
- If you’re somewhere that has limited public transport options, arrange to have a designated driver or to stay the night.
- Make use of public transport, there are also late night options such as the nightrider bus.
- Book a taxi, uber or other rideshare option.
What is BAC?
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is a measurement of the amount of alcohol in the body. BAC is measured in grams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.05. This means that a driver's body must contain less than 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. A driver's BAC is measured by a simple breath test procedure. Most people find it difficult to gauge their own blood alcohol level as there are so many factors that you need to consider.
- the amount of alcohol consumed
- the period of time over which alcohol is consumed
- your body mass
- whether or not you have eaten
- your fitness levels; and
- the health of your liver.
Because everyone is different, some people need to drink less than the standard hourly recommendations to maintain a BAC level below the legal limit.
What we're doing about drug driving
- 10 new purpose-built drug and booze buses have been introduced.
- Trialling new technologies that will prevent serious injuries and deaths on our roads
- Fitting alcohol interlock devices (which stop a driver from starting the vehicle if they have been drinking) to all drink drivers' vehicles when they are relicensed. A Victorian study found a 79% reduction in drink-drive offending among repeat drink-drivers required to have an interlock fitted upon relicensing
- Tackling the wider issue of drink driving with better assessments and screening for alcohol problems, and more effective behaviour change programs
- Looking at requirements for repeat offenders to have a zero blood alcohol limit for life
- Promoting the benefits of separating drinking and driving to all drivers, like planning ahead how to get home from a night out.