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Watch the drink-drive limits across Europe this summer

A road safety and breakdown organisation in the UK is encouraging holiday drivers to be mindful of the lower drink-drive limits in force across Europe this summer. The same good advice applies to Irish drives heading abroad.
GEM Motoring Assist’s road safety officer Neil Worth says: “The best way to stay safe and legal is by never drinking and driving, so we recommend you keep your personal drink-drive limit to zero, wherever you may be on holiday.”
The blood alcohol content (BAC) limit defines the maximum legal amount of alcohol that is permitted to be in the blood for people to drive in a particular country. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland this is currently 0.08 (equivalent to 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood), while in Scotland the limit is 0.05. The latter is similar to the standard Republic of Ireland.
Drink-drive limits across Europe, with the exception of Malta and the UK except Scotland.19 countries have a standard limit of 0.05, although in Norway, Sweden, Latvia, Poland and Estonia the limit is just 0.02. In the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia there is a zero limit.

Neil Worth comments: “Around 25% of the 25,000 annual fatalities on European roads are alcohol related.
“Although you can legally drive in the UK at the alcohol limit of 0.08, doing the same thing in Hungary or Norway could put you in prison. Moreover, figures show that a driver with an 0.08 alcohol level will be 2.7 times more likely to crash than a sober driver2.
“There is no reliable way to calculate how much alcohol you can drink and stay below the limit. So eliminate the guesswork and reduce your risk by always steering clear of alcohol before driving.
“Summer holidays are the time to relax and enjoy good weather, good company and hopefully some great scenery, whether in Europe or beyond. Sensible journey planning can ensure you never need to drive after drinking alcohol.”
For specific country-by-country information on rules, risks, facts and figures, please visit

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Drink Driving Limits across Europe
These are the maximum drink driving limits across Europe for drivers as well as special limits for commercial and novice drivers where applicable. Shown in grammes per litre.

         Standard                       Commercial                    Novice
                                                   drivers                              drivers
Austria                                       0.5                                    0.1                                        0.1
Belgium                                     0.5                                    0.2                                        0.5
Bulgaria                                     0.5                                    0.5                                        0.5
Croatia                                       0.5                                    0.0                                        0.0
Cyprus                                       0.5                                     0.2                                        0.2
Czech Republic                        0.0                                    0.0                                        0.0
Denmark                                   0.5                                    0.5                                         0.5
Estonia                                      0.2                                    0.2                                         0.2
Finland                                      0.5                                    0.5                                         0.5
France                                       0.5                                     0.5 (0.2 bus drivers)         0.2
Germany                                   0.5                                    0.0                                         0.0
Greece                                       0.5                                    0.2                                          0.2
Hungary                                   0.0                                    0.0                                          0.0
Ireland                                      0.5                                    0.2                                          0.2
Italy                                           0.5                                    0.0                                          0.0
Latvia                                        0.5                                    0.5                                          0.2
Lithuania                                 0.4                                    0.0                                          0.0
Luxembourg                           0.5                                    0.2                                           0.2
Malta                                       0.8                                    0.8                                           0.8
Netherlands                           0.5                                     0.5                                           0.2
Poland                                     0.2                                    0.2                                            0.2
Portugal                                  0.5                                    0.2                                            0.2
Romania                                 0.0                                    0.0                                            0.0
Slovakia                                  0.0                                    0.0                                            0.0
Slovenia                                  0.5                                    0.0                                            0.0
Spain                                       0.5                                    0.3                                             0.3
Sweden                                   0.2                                    0.2                                             0.2
UK [i]                                      0.8                                    0.8                                             0.8
Switzerland                            0.5                                    0.1                                              0.1

[i] Scotland                            0,5 for all groups.

Last updated: December 2017