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Drink Driving Abroad and Legal Limits

By Principal Lawyer, Head of Travel Litigation (Manchester)

Headed overseas to let your hair down? Driving responsibly saves lives. Knowing the legal limits of your holiday destination will save your overseas dream becoming a nightmare.

Drink-driving has a considerable detrimental effect on your abilities as a driver. Alcohol lowers your awareness and concentration, making it difficult to focus and increasing the chances of you causing a road traffic accident. Recent data revealed that approximately 15% of all deaths from reported road traffic accidents involved at least one driver over the legal alcohol limit.

Though you may not feel intoxicated, alcohol slows your reactions in a way that is dangerous to both yourself and innocent people on the road. Even one drink can make you unfit for driving, and so wherever you are behind the wheel in the world, avoid a holiday accident - don’t drink and drive.

In England and Wales, the UK legal limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood in your body. But what are the limits abroad?

Austria

Legal limit = 49mg. For new drivers the limit is just 1mg.

Croatia

Legal limit = 50mg. Zero tolerance for under 24s.

Denmark

Legal limit = 50mg.

France

Legal limit = 50mg

Germany

Legal limit = 50mg. Zero tolerance for under 21s and new drivers.

Greece and Cyprus

Legal limit = 49mg. Zero tolerance for new drivers.

Ireland

Legal limit = 50mg. Limit for drivers with a license under two years old is 20mg.

Italy

Legal limit = 51mg. Zero tolerance for under 21s and new drivers.

Malta

Legal limit = 80mg.

The Netherlands

Legal limit = 50mg. Limit for drivers with a license under five years old is 20mg.

Spain

Legal limit = 50mg. Limit for drivers with a license under two years old is 30mg.

Switzerland

Legal limit = 50mg.

Scandinavia

Legal limit = 20mg.

United States

General limit of 80mg. Zero tolerance for drivers under 21.

See Tips for Driving Abroad.

Slater and Gordon Travel Litigation Lawyers are experts in overseas road traffic accidents and have extensive experience in pursuing claims in compensation of injuries sustained abroad including those involving alcohol. Slater and Gordon are currently pursuing a case for a pedestrian mown down by a Belgian motorcyclist who was over the limit and have secured an admission of liability. We are also currently representing the family of a victim who was struck and killed by a Portuguese drink driver, and have represented the family at inquest.

Joanne Berry is a Senior Personal Injury Solicitor and Head of Travel Litigation at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.

If you are injured in a car accident abroad and would like free legal advice on claiming personal injury compensation, call us 24/7 for a free consultation on freephone 0800 916 9046 or  on +44 20 7657 155 if you are calling from outside the UK. Alternatively contact us online and let us know when and where to call you.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers are a leading personal injury law firm with more than 1,450 staff in 18 offices across London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Halifax, Newcastle, Wakefield, Merseyside, Derby and meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire and in Hull, Yorkshire.

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