If it’s not okay here, it’s not okay before we drive.
Drinking. Driving. They’re better apart.

Drink driving is one of the biggest killers on Victoria's roads, with around 1 in 5 drivers and riders killed having a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of 0.05 (5 year average).

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.

The way to avoid drink driving is simple. If you're going to drink, plan not to drive. If people avoid driving after drinking, the number of road fatalities could be reduced by up to 20%.

The separation of drinking and driving is yet another demonstration of the “proof” as to how we are going to achieve a vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on our roads.

Driving impairment occurs even at low BAC levels:

  • At .02 to .05 BAC – the ability to judge distances and to see or locate moving lights correctly is reduced.  The tendency to take risks is increased, and the ability to respond to several stimuli is decreased
  • .05 to .08 BAC – the ability to judge distances is further reduced, reactions are slower, and concentration span is shorter
  • At 0.08 Drivers are five times more likely to have a crash than before they started drinking
  • .08 to .12 BAC – over confidence sets in, over estimation of one’s abilities leads to reckless driving, and peripheral vision and perception of obstacles are impaired
  • At 0.12 Drivers are ten times more likely to have a crash
  • With a BAC of 0.15, the risk of being involved in a crash is more than 20 times greater than with a BAC of zero

Plan ahead. There are other options to getting home:

  • Organise a designated driver
  • Book a taxi
  • Check out public transport options
Drinking and Driving, they're better apart

More Information

  • Drink Driving Background

    In 1989 the TAC became involved in mass media road safety advertising launching a series of television commercials showing the tragic results of drink driving. This is when that well known tagline - drink drive, bloody idiot – was born.

    From the beginning, enforcement has been a key part of the deterring drink driving. The TAC has funded the purchase of booze buses for Victoria Police random breath tests, breath testers and other equipment to detect offenders.

    A major aim of the TAC's drink driving advertising has been to emphasise the reality of  being caught if you are over the limit and the severe penalties that follow.

    More recently many people have ignored the dangers of mixing alcohol and driving and have continued to drive with lower, but still illegal, BAC. The excuse used is that driving "only a little bit over .05" is OK. This ignores the fact the risk of a crash is increased as drink drivers are more likely to speed, less likely to wear a seatbelt and less likely to take steps to prevent fatigue.

    To combat this,  the TAC introduced the Only a little bit over? campaign in December 2003. Here the key message is - if you drink and drive over the BAC limit, you are breaking the law and endangering the lives of innocent passengers and other road users.

    In 1989, the year that the TAC commenced its campaigns, 114 drivers and riders died in road crashes with an illegal blood alcohol concentration. This figure had dropped to 42 in 2009.

  • Drink Driving Statistics

    In the 5 years before 1987, more than 110 drivers and motorcycle riders who lost their lives each year had a BAC greater than 0.05g/100ml. This has reduced to an average of 28 drivers and riders who lost their lives each year with a BAC greater than 0.05g/100ml from 2011-2015. In 2016, there were 34 drivers and riders who lost their lives with a BAC greater than 0.05g/100ml.

    The proportion of drivers and motorcycle riders who lost their lives with a BAC greater than 0.05g/100ml has declined from 38% in 1987 to 19% in 2016.

    Since 1997, Victoria Police have breath tested more than 24 million drivers and riders from Booze Bus operations, catching more than 75,000 drivers and riders with an illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) during this period.

    The vast majority (99.7%) of drivers tested do not exceed their legal blood alcohol levels, however, in the last 5 years, close to 1 in 5 drivers and riders who lost their lives had a BAC greater than 0.05.


    Drink drivers BAC graph


    In Summary

    The majority (99.7%) of drivers tested did not exceed their legal blood alcohol levels, however, close to 1 in 5 drivers and riders who lost their lives in the last 5 years had a BAC greater than 0.05.

    See the TAC drink driving campaigns.


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  • Facts About Drinking and Driving

    Drink driving is one of the biggest killers on Victoria's roads. Almost a quarter of all fatal crashes in Victoria involve a driver or rider with an illegal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC).

    As drink driving has become more and more socially unacceptable, the TAC's drink drive campaigns are often aimed at low level drink drivers - those who think it is ok to be "just a little bit over" or at the legal limit.

    Here are some common questions about drink driving limits.

    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.

    These include:

    • 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.

    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.

    What is the current law relating to drink driving?

    There are heavy penalties if caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of both, or refusing to be tested.