What the legal Drinking limit Actually Means For Us

Enjoying a beer or a glass of wine is a culture most of us adults enjoy. However, a challenge exists. How much can we drink whilst remaining under the limit?

Let’s address the first question, what will happen if you are caught over the limit?

According to members of the South African Police Service, if you have consumed more than the legal limit of alcohol while driving, you will be arrested and charged with driving under the Influence. You will be detained until bail is granted; in some cases bail will not be granted. Depending on the conditions of your arrest as well as past convictions, the individual could face a minimum fine of R2 000 or a two-year prison sentence, or both. Your driver’s licence could be suspended and you face the chances of having a criminal record against your name.

“Drunk driving is one of the biggest threats to Road Safety in South Africa,” says the AA (Automobile Association of South Africa). “More than 21,000 people have been arrested on our roads in the last year as a result of drinking and driving and it has been shown that 50% of people who die on our roads are over the limit.”

So this leads us to our second question, what specifically constitutes being over the limit?

The legal alcohol limit in South Africa is a breath alcohol content of 0.24mg per 1,000ml, or a blood alcohol limit of 0.05g per 100ml. Therefore this translates to a maximum of 10ml of pure alcohol per hour, based on an adult weighing 68kg.  In layman’s terms this means (based on an average body weight of 68kg):

  • Beer: Two thirds of a beer or spirit cooler with 5% alcohol content.
  • Red wine: 75ml (1 glass: 125ml) per hour with an alcohol content of 12% to 14%
  • White wine: 90ml per hour
  • Whisky and brandy: 25ml tot of alcohol per hour.

Lastly, what are the myths of sobering up:

  • Drinking Black Coffee:Caffeine will not help your liver metabolize alcohol. Drinking coffee while intoxicated could give you a false feeling of alertness and capability, which in turn could get you in to more trouble.
  • Fresh Air:Just the same as taking a shower, fresh air can make you feel less impaired but it has zero effect on your blood alcohol content.
  • Induce vomiting: Self-induced vomiting could eliminate some of the alcohol that has not yet been absorbed by your body, but most of it will already be in your bloodstream.
  • Sweat it out: No amount of exercise can reduce the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. Exercising while intoxicated could cause you harm as your balance will be impaired.

The only thing that will work is TIME, nothing else can reverse it. Do yourself and others a favour and wait it out. Please consider the consequences before you get behind the wheel intoxicated.

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