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Know your drink-drive holiday limits

If you’re going to hire a vehicle when on holiday and intend to enjoy a drink with dinner, it’s important that you check the local laws first.

Some nations operate a zero tolerance drink-drive policy and have far stricter rules than here in the UK.

In Europe especially, it pays to know the regulations, as fines and even prison sentences can be dished out for drink-driving offences.

Now research from Discover Car Hire has revealed the various limits for countries that are popular holiday destinations with Brits, to highlight the need to be careful overseas.

Varying limits in European countries

While the alcohol limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood, it is higher than many other nations.

While the limit is the same in the USA, your reading should be below 0.05 if you’re driving in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Scotland and Portugal.

Azerbaijan, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Romania and Slovakia all have zero tolerance approaches, meaning you can’t have any alcohol in your system when you get behind the wheel.

If you’re crossing a border when on holiday, it might mean that you are fine to drive in one country but not in the next.

The following alcohol limits apply to drivers when hiring a vehicle in Europe. The limit of 0.05% also applies if you’re travelling to Australia or New Zealand.




 Estonia, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine


 Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia




Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland


Armenia, Malta

As everyone processes alcohol at different speeds, it is recommended that you refrain from using a hire car if you intend to enjoy a drink, regardless of where you are travelling to.

What else to consider?

drinking on holidayIf you are planning to hire a car for your next holiday, you may also want to think about an add-on in the form of car hire excess insurance.

This policy, available online via third parties for a fraction of the price that you’ll be offered at a rental desk, covers the excess you would need to pay should your hire car be damaged or stolen.

Although you would need to pay the excess figure in the event of a claim, you could claim back the finance via your policy, giving you peace of mind for the duration of your trip, as you will be covered for any eventuality.

Date Created: 04/07/2019

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