Alcohol Limits in Portugal

Know the new drink driving laws in Portugal

Allowed alcohol levels (Blood Alcohol Concentration) in Portugal ­- know the rules and limits for drink driving in Portugal

Road accidents are one of the major causes of mortality in Portugal, being Portugal amongst countries with the highest rates of road mortality in the European Union.

The blood alcohol level, also designated as blood alcohol content is the amount of alcohol present in the blood.

When calculating the blood content level, please remember that it can be affected by several factors apart from the quantity, the quality and the type of the alcohol consumed. The individual characteristics of the person, such as sex, age, weight, health condition and the circumstances in which the beverage was ingested (during a meal, between meals or on empty stomach) may affect the result.

Drink driving in Portugal ­ allowed alcohol limits
Whether you are planning to rent a car during your Portuguese holiday of if you are driving a car on a daily basis as a resident in Portugal, it is essential to know the driving laws.

In Portugal the legal alcohol limit for drivers is of 0,5 grams per litre of blood. When driving with the blood alcohol content superior to 0,5 grams per litre, you inccur into penalties of different gravity, varying according to the registered levels of blood alcohol content:

  • If your measured blood alcohol level is between 0,5 g/L and 0,8 g/L you are liable to a fine in the amount ranging from 250 euros to 1.250 euros and a ban from driving during a period from a month to a year.
  • If your blood alcohol level is between 0,8 g/L and 1,2 g/L you are liable to a fine in the amount that can range from 500 to 2.500 euros and a ban from driving during 2 months to 2 years.
  • The measured alcohol level equal or superior is to 1.2 g/L is considered a criminal offence in Portugal, punishable by imprisonment and a ban from driving during the period ranging from 3 months to 3 years.

New legal alcohol limits for drivers in Portugal
In the beginning of 2013, new legal alcohol limits were introduced by the authorities in Portugal in order to help prevent drink driving and thus increasing the road safety.

Is has been proven that even the smallest quantities of alcohol affect the driver’s behaviour and toughening of the penalties for drink driving in Portugal follows the example of similar measures taken in many other countries worldwide, amongst them the United States, Sweden, Japan and Australia.

In the USA, for example, a decrease of 17% to 23% of the road mortality rate has been registered following the introduction of a stricter legal alcohol limit for young drivers (under 21 years of age).

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