CCWith the festive season upon us it is important to be mindful of the laws relating to drink driving.

With 70 percent of drink drivers convicted in the local court having no previous criminal history, it seems clear that this is an offence which often catches law abiding people off guard.

It is important to remember that the limits of blood alcohol content (BAC) differ for different classes of driver.

The limit for Learner and Provisional drivers is zero.  For drivers of public and heavy vehicles the BAC limit is 0.02.  For ordinary licence holders the limit is 0.05.

Passengers acting as ‘supervisors’ to a learner driver can also be charged with exceeding the prescribed limit of alcohol content whilst acting as a supervisor.  Being full licence holders, the supervising passenger must be at a BAC below 0.05.  Such a case received some press coverage recently.

One mistake which often causes people to come before the local Magistrate, is a failure to monitor the number of standard drinks that have been consumed over a period.  It is quite common for drivers to be charged with exceeding the prescribed limit of blood alcohol many hours or even the day after drinking.

The general rule of thumb to follow is that the body cleanses itself of one ‘standard drink’ each hour, although this is subject to a number of factors including the drinkers age, sex, weight and the like.

When calculating how long it will be before you are able to drive it is important to remember that each glass consumed by the drinker is not necessarily one ‘standard drink’.  A ‘standard drink’ in Australia is defined as 12.5ml of pure alcohol.  Many commercialized products hold more than one ‘standard drink’ in a single serving, so it is important to take note of the number of ‘standard drinks’ consumed and not, the number of cans or glasses of the beverage.

Take for example one ‘stubbie’ of full strength beer which typically contains 17.5 ml of alcohol or 1.4 standard drinks, but can vary depending on the brand and type of beer.  Although a drinker might consume only two stubbies over a one hour period  and expect to be able to legally drive, in fact they have consumed almost three ‘standard drinks’ and could be well above the legal limit of alcohol prescribed for driving.

It is important to note that the above calculations are general in nature.  The way in which alcohol is absorbed by the body varies greatly between individuals and the advice provided above should not be relied on to calculate or estimate your BAC.  The most certain way to avoid drink driving offences is to refrain from driving if you have consumed any alcohol whatsoever.

If you have any enquiries relating to drink driving please call Everingham Solomons Solicitors because Helping You is Our Business.

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