The Driver's Handbook
Alcohol, Drugs, Medicines and Driving
Alcohol, drugs and certain medicines reduce your ability to drive safely and increase your risk of being involved in a crash. Not only do these substances impair driving ability, but the effects of mixing them can be even more severe.
As a driver, you need to be alert and able to concentrate on what you are doing so that you can react to whatever is happening around you on the road.
It is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including some over-the-counter and prescription medicines if they impair your driving ability.
If you are a learner, provisional or probationary licence holder you must stick to a zero Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) - this means no alcohol at all. A zero BAC also applies to drivers of buses, taxis, heavy vehicles, vehicles carrying dangerous goods and R-Date licence (power restricted motorcycle) classification.
Unconditional (full) licence holders, including qualified supervising drivers accompanying a learner driver, must not drive with a BAC of 0.05 or more.
The presence of cannabis, speed or ecstasy detected in a driver also constitutes an offence - these drugs may be detected through random roadside saliva tests.
Severe penalties apply to drivers who commit drink or drug driving offences - regardless of whether you are a learner driver or an unconditional licence holder. Penalties may include heavy fines (up to $2,900), licence disqualification, demerit points, and even imprisonment in some cases. Upon returning from a period of disqualification, drivers may be subject to a conditional licence or may even regress to a former licence stage. For serious drink driving offences, drivers face immediate loss of licence at the roadside and will be required to fit an alcohol interlock device for the same period as their licence disqualification before they can regain their full licence.
An alcohol interlock device is to be fitted to a motor vehicle to monitor a driver's BAC preventing the vehicle from being started or operated if the driver's BAC exceeds a pre-set limit.
These penalties are designed to send a clear message to drivers and riders about the dangers of drinking alcohol or taking drugs and operating a motor vehicle.