ALCOHAL AND DRUGS LIMIT• Alcohol and drugs, including some drugs given to you by a doctor, can seriously affect your driving. They can slow your reaction times and affect your senses. •You risk causing death and serious injury to yourself and other people if you drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Legal alcohol limits for driving• The law says you must not drive if the amount of alcohol in your blood or breath exceeds certain age- related limits. These limits are shown below• Under twenty• There is a zero alcohol limit if you are under 20. That means if you drive after consuming even one drink you can be charged with drink driving. If you have an alcohol level of less than 150 micrograms per litre of breath and less than 30 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood you could be fined and given 50 demerit points. If your alcohol limit is higher, you could be disqualified from driving, given 50 demerit points and either fined or imprisoned.
• Twenty or over• You must not drive if you have consumed more than the legal alcohol limit, which is 400 micrograms per litre of breath or 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood.• It is difficult to say how many alcoholic drinks you can have before you reach these limits. It depends on many factors, including:• whether you are male or female• your size• how much food you have eaten.• Because of this, and because even small amounts of alcohol can affect your driving, the best advice is: if you drink at all, dont drive.• If youve been drinking, call a taxi, take a bus or get someone who hasnt been drinking, such as a friend or dial-a-driver, to drive you home.
Testing for alcohol and drugs• You can be stopped by the police and breath-tested at any time. The police can use the following tests to see if you have been drinking or taking drugs. Passive breath test The officer will place a hand-held device in front of your mouth and ask you to talk into it. This will show if you have recently drunk any alcohol. If any alcohol is detected, a breath screening test will be required.
• Breath screening test• The police officer will give you either a tube of crystals with a bag on the end or a small electronic device, and will ask you to blow into it. If your alcohol level is high, you will be asked to take an evidential breath test or have a blood test.• Evidential breath test• This is an electronic device you blow into, which gives a reading that can be used in court as evidence of your breath–alcohol concentration.• Blood test• If you have a blood test, a medical doctor or other approved person will take a sample of your blood to be tested for alcohol or drugs.
When are the tests carried out?• A police officer can ask you to take a passive breath test or breath screening test if:• you are suspected of drinking and driving• you are signalled to stop at a Police alcohol check point.• You must wait with the officer for the result of the test.• If the test shows you have been drinking, you must:• hand over the keys to your vehicle, if asked by a police officer• go with a police officer, if required• agree to a blood test, if asked by a police officer, medical doctor or other approved person.• If you dont, you may be arrested.
What are your rights? You may: choose not to take a breath screening orevidential breath test however, if you: refuse abreath screening test, you will be asked to takean evidential breath test refuse an evidentialbreath test, you must undergo a blood testchoose to give blood if an evidential breath testsuggests you are over the legal limit talk to alawyer (if you wish to) after a positive breathscreening test and before an evidential breath orblood test – a telephone will be made availableto you for this purpose. If your blood test shows you are over the legallimit, you will be given a copy of the blood testcertificate.
What are the penalties?• On-the-spot (roadside) licence suspension• Your licence will be suspended on the spot if you refuse to have a blood test or if, following an evidential breath or blood test, you are found to have:• more than 130* milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, or• more than 650* micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.
A lower threshold of 80 milligrams or 400 micrograms will apply if, in the previous four years, you have been convicted of:• driving or attempting to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or• driving or attempting to drive with excess breath or blood alcohol, or• failing or refusing to allow a blood sample to be taken, or• causing death or injury while in charge of a motor vehicle and under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or with excess breath or blood alcohol.• Your licence will be suspended for 28 days and you will still have to face court-imposed penalties.
Repeat offences• The penalties described above may be increased substantially for repeat offences.• In addition, if you commit two alcohol-related offences within a five-year period and one of those offences involves:• refusing to go with a police officer• refusing to give a breath or blood sample• driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs• having a breath–alcohol level above 1000 micrograms• having a blood–alcohol level above 200 milligrams per 100 millilitres• then you will be:• disqualified from driving for an indefinite period, and• required to attend an approved alcohol assessment centre.
DRIVE CAREFULY• Many fatal crashes are caused by people driving when they are tired. If you feel tired, dont drive and avoid drinking while driving and stay safe. Dont risk your life or those of other road users.