Alcohol Guide


Any alcohol at all will affect your ability to drive. In Australia, it is an offence to drive while your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.05 or above. In other words, the legal limit (the limit you must not exceed) is under 0.05. If you are a learner (L-plate), provisional (P-plate) or professional driver (including heavy truck and bus drivers, taxi drivers and drivers of dangerous goods vehicles), the legal limit is zero.

 

Standard Drink Sizes


Most consumed drinks hold more than 1 standard drink. Be aware of the alcohol content and amount of alcohol you consume in each glass or container.

The following items are number according to the standard drinks they contain. Labels on alcoholic drink containers state the number of Standard Drinks in the container.

 

small beer large beer small beer large beer small beer large beer
1.1
285ml
1.6
425ml
0.8
285ml
1.2
425ml
0.6
285ml
0.9
425ml

Full Strength Beer
4.9% Alc./Vol

Mid Strength Beer
3.5% Alc./Vol
Light Beer
2.7% Alc./Vol
Heavy Beer

1.5
375ml
Full Strength Beer
4.9% Alc./Vol

1
375ml
Mid Strength Beer
3.5% Alc./Vol
0.8
375ml
Light Beer
2.7% Alc./Vol
1.5
375ml
Pre-Mix Spirits
5% Alc./Vol
1.2
300ml
Pre-Mix Spirits
5% Alc./Vol
1
30ml
Spirit Nip
40% Alc./Vol
22
700ml
Bottle of Spirits
40% Alc./Vol
1
30ml
Spirit Shot
40% Alc./Vol

1
60ml
Port/Sherry
Glass
20% Alc./Vol

1.5
170ml
Average Serve of
Sparkling Wine/
Champagne
11.5% Alc./Vol
1.5
150ml
Average Serve
of Wine
12.5% Alc./Vol
7.5
750ml
Bottle
of Wine
12.5% Alc./Vol

 

Amounts for only 1 Standard Drink


The following amounts are a guide for 1 standard drink based on the alcohol content. These are calculated based on the formula supplied by the Department of Health and Ageing (reference).

 

small beer small beer small beer premixed drink spirits port or sherry sparkling wine or champagne average wine
260ml
Full Strength Beer
4.9% Alc./Vol
360ml
Mid Strength Beer
3.5% Alc./Vol
470ml
Light Beer
2.7% Alc./Vol
255ml
Pre-Mix Spirits
5% Alc./Vol
30ml
Spirit Nip
40% Alc./Vol
60ml
Port/Sherry
Glass
20% Alc./Vol
110ml
Sparkling Wine/
Champagne
11.5% Alc./Vol
100ml
Wine
12.5% Alc./Vol

 

Reducing Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)


As soon as you start drinking, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) begins to rise and takes 30 to 60 minutes after you have stopped drinking to reach its highest concentration. However, it could take up to two hours before your BAC peaks, especially if you have eaten a substantial meal at the same time.

Alcohol is eliminated from the liver at a rate of between 4 and 12 grams per hour, with the average being 7.5 grams or three-quarters of a standard drink. This means that it can take an hour or more for your body to break down the alcohol in one standard drink.

 

Drinking rule of thumb


The rule of thumb is an easy way to help you count your drinks to keep your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) under 0.05. Remember the 'rule of thumb' is a rough guide only and is based on the average 70kg male and 50kg female, your BAC can be affected by numerous factors.

For Men:
No more than two standard drinks in the first hour and one standard drink each hour after that. *

For Women:
No more than one standard drink each hour. *

* Although this is a conservative estimate designed to minimise the risk of exceeding the legal limit, some people (especially women) may need to take even further precautions when pacing their drinks.

One way of accurately measuring your BAC at any given time is by a blood test but you can test yourself on a Standards Australia approved breath test machine as a guide.  

 

Avoid a fine or licence disqualification


  • Allow enough time after drinking for your body to process the alcohol and reduce your BAC, or avoid driving all together to be safe.
  • Take a taxi, and remember to leave enough money for the ride home after a night out (perhaps keep a few spare notes in another pocket so you won't spend it). Store the taxi number in your mobile beforehand.
  • Stay over at a friends place after drinking, preferably arranging prior to going out.
  • Arrange for somebody to pick you up after drinking.

 

Other Tips


  • Eat before or during drinking
  • Drink non alcoholic beverages to start or in between
  • Don’t eat salty snacks
  • Avoid shouts
  • Mix your own drinks and try more mix than normal
  • Don’t mix drinks
  • Don’t top up
  • Don’t hold your drink between sips
  • Keep track of your drinks – Pot card, Pull rings, bottle tops
  • Take enough money for the amount of drinks you intend to have
  • Try light alcoholic drinks
  • Use coin operated breathalysers if available but be wary!!!!