Alcohol and drugs

The laws in NSW limit the amount of alcohol you can consume if you are driving a vehicle. It is illegal to drive, attempt to drive or instruct a learner while affected by drugs.

Alcohol

The laws in NSW limit the amount of alcohol you can consume if you are driving a vehicle.

Legal limits

Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) must be under the limit as shown in the table. Heavy penalties apply for driving with a BAC on or over the limit.

BAC limits

As a learner and provisional driver, you must not drive after you have consumed any alcoholic drinks or foods containing alcohol.

This table shows the BAC limits for all licence classes. You must stay below these limits.

Licence class BAC
Learner (L) zero
Provisional (P1, P2) zero
Full licence (car or rider) under 0.05
Public passenger vehicle drivers – bus, taxi etc under 0.02
Coach or heavy vehicle (over 13.9 tonnes GVM or GCM) driver under 0.02
Dangerous goods vehicle driver under 0.02
Fully licensed drivers from interstate and overseas under 0.05

Drugs, legal and illegal

It is illegal to drive, attempt to drive or instruct a learner while affected by drugs.

Drug testing

Police will arrest you if they suspect you are driving while impaired by drugs. You will be taken to a hospital to give samples of blood and urine for drug testing.

In the event of a crash where someone is admitted to hospital, blood samples are taken which may be tested for drugs.

Medicines and over-the-counter drugs

Many prescription and some over-the-counter medicines may make you unfit to drive. They can affect your concentration, mood, coordination and reactions as a driver.

Do not drive while taking medicines with a warning label that tells you not to drive.

Medicines that affect driving

  • Some pain killers
  • Medicines for blood pressure, nausea, allergies, inflammations
    and fungal infections
  • Tranquillisers, sedatives and sleeping pills
  • Some diet pills
  • Some cold and flu medicines.
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