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Alcohol, Drugs and Driving

Alcohol and/or drugs can have a significant effect on a person's ability to drive. It is estimated that about two schooners of full strength beer or three schooners of low alcohol beer drunk in an hour will raise an average person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 per 100 mls of blood.

Effects of alcohol

However, the effect of alcohol varies greatly from person to person. It is affected by a variety of factors, such as:

  • the length of time since the person has eaten;
  • how much they weigh;
  • gender;
  • level of fitness;
  • the health of their liver;
  • whether they regularly drink;
  • mood;
  • the type of drink consumed;
  • the person's efficiency in eliminating alcohol from the body (which may vary from time to time as well as from person to person).

Drink driving offences

All references in this part are to the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) unless otherwise stated. The Act creates four major offences:

  • DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs) [s 47];
  • PCA (driving with a prescribed concentration of alcohol) [s 47B];
  • Driving with Prescribed Drug in Oral Fluid or Blood [s 47BA]; and
  • Refusing to blow (refusing to comply with directions in relation to a breath test) [s 47E].

The elements of each of these offences is discussed in the following sections.

See also our fact sheet Drink Driving and the Law Fact Sheet.

As of 24 April 2018, specific offences apply where a person is caught drink or drug driving while a child aged under 16 years is present in the vehicle at the time of the offence.

Alcohol, Drugs and Driving  :  Last Revised: Wed Apr 18th 2018
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.