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Prescribed concentration of alcohol

Elements of the offence

A person who drives, or attempts to drive, a motor vehicle while there is more than the 'prescribed concentration' of alcohol in the person's blood is guilty of the offence of exceed prescribed concentration of alcohol [Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) s 47B].

Prescribed concentration of alcohol

The prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA) for holders of an unconditional licence is 0.05 blood alcohol concentration (BCA). For unlicensed drivers or drivers of “prescribed vehicles”, the PCA is zero [Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) s 47A].

Vehicles prescribed for this purpose include:

  • those with a gross vehicle mass exceeding 15 tonnes
  • a prime mover with an unladen mass exceeding 4 tonnes
  • a bus designed to carry more than 12 persons (including the driver) — applies whether passengers are being carried or not
  • a motor vehicle designed principally to carry between 8 and 12 passengers and that is used regularly for carrying passengers for hire, or for a business or community purpose — applies whether passengers are being carried or not.
  • a vehicle being used for carrying passengers for hire
  • a vehicle transporting dangerous goods (as defined in the Dangerous Substances Act 1979 (SA))


For the penalties, see alcohol and drug penalties.

Learner, provisional and probationary drivers

Learner, provisional and probationary drivers also must drive with a zero blood alcohol concentration. However, it is only a breach of their conditions if they drive with a blood alcohol level greater than zero but less than 0.05. If they drive with a blood alcohol level greater than 0.05 they may be charged with both breaching their conditions and an offence of driving with the prescribed concentration of alcohol see driver's licences.

Prescribed concentration of alcohol  :  Last Revised: Tue Oct 23rd 2012
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.