The legal alcohol limit in NSW for all learner and provisional licence holders is zero.
The zero alcohol limit applies to:
- Learner licence holders.
- Provisional P1 licence holders.
- Provisional P2 licence holders.
- Visiting overseas and interstate learner, provisional, or equivalent licence holders.
The zero alcohol limit has been introduced for novice drivers because they are more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol than experienced drivers due to their newly developing driving skills.
The zero alcohol limit means all learner and provisional licence holders (which includes those holding an equivalent licence issued outside NSW) can’t consume any alcohol before driving.
Check product labels for alcohol content
Some medicines, mouthwashes and foodstuffs may contain alcohol. You should check labels for alcohol content (which is sometimes labelled as ethanol). All such products containing alcohol should be avoided by licence holders subject to the zero alcohol limit if they plan to drive.
If you are going to drive, avoid these things. Otherwise you may not be able to convince a Court that you didn't consume an alcoholic beverage or another substance for the purpose of consuming alcohol.
So, if you're going to a party, plan ahead:
- Leave the car at home.
- Travel by bus, train or taxi.
- Stay the night at a friend's house.
- Organise for someone to pick you up at an arranged time.
The penalties for drink driving are severe and convictions involve a criminal record as well as fines and licence loss. Or worse still, you could be responsible for the death of a friend or an innocent person using the road.
The day after – getting back to zero
IMPORTANT: You may be over the zero alcohol limit for much of the next day if you have had a heavy night of drinking. You must not drive until all alcohol has been eliminated from your system.
The zero BAC law is designed to target drink drivers, not to prevent young people from participating in religious observances. If you are caught driving with a blood alcohol level above zero, but below 0.02, and you can prove to the Court that the alcohol was consumed during a religious ceremony, this will be a defence.