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Even a small amount of alcohol can affect your judgement and reaction times, which is why there are laws around drinking and driving. Drink driving can endanger not just your life, but the lives of your passengers, fellow drivers and pedestrians.

Because of this, countries set up drink drive limits and there can be serious penalties if you exceed them. Your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) measures how much alcohol is in your blood stream, and it’s this that is tested, either by blood, breath or urine, and used to determine whether you are over the legal limit.

The legal drink drive limit in England and Wales is a BAC level of 0.08% (that’s 80 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood in your body).

In Scotland this is 0.05% (50 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood in your body).

Other countries have different limits and sometimes have lower ones for new and/or commercial drivers.

Always make sure you know and understand the limits when you’re driving at home or abroad to avoid accidents and getting into trouble with the police. However, it’s always safest to avoid driving if you've been drinking.

Important fact

How many units can you drink and still drive?

Drink and drive limits are based on the amount of alcohol in your blood, not the number of units you drink. This is because everyone processes alcohol differently. Remember, most people are able to process about one unit per hour. The only way to guarantee you remain under the limit is not to drink and drive.

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What you can do next

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