Drink Driving Laws in Bulgaria 2023: How Much Alcohol Can You Drink and Drive?

drinking and driving laws in Bulgaria

When driving in Bulgaria, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.05% grams (0.5 grams of alcohol per liter of blood). Drivers must obey this limit to comply with the law and promote responsible behavior. Noncompliance with this regulation may result in fines and legal or administrative consequences.

The effect of alcohol on blood alcohol concentration varies from person to person. One or two standard alcoholic drinks can raise the blood alcohol level to 0.05%. However, this amount varies depending on an individual’s physiology and anatomy. Two people who drink the same amount of beer may have different blood alcohol contents.

This page aims to spread awareness about the dangers associated with drunk driving in Bulgaria. This site does not support or encourage impaired driving, regardless of the country or region.

In 2019, a total of 52 people lost their lives in a road collision in Bulgaria while being above the legal limit for alcohol, and 522 individuals sustained injuries. In comparison, in 2020, 27 fatalities occurred in similar circumstances, with 523 reported injuries.

According to a survey, approximately 5% of car drivers in Bulgaria admit to having driven once in the previous 30 days while potentially exceeding the legal limit for alcohol consumption and driving.

Avoiding driving after drinking to guarantee the safety of everyone on the road. If you need to travel after consuming alcohol, you may consider alternative safe modes of transportation. Opting for authorized driving services or taxis is a responsible approach to minimize potential risks.

Being aware of the local regulations regarding drunk driving before visiting a specific country is crucial. Another method to ensure you are not impaired by alcohol is regularly using an alcohol breathalyzer to monitor your blood alcohol level.

For more comprehensive information regarding drunk driving laws in Bulgaria, it is recommended to visit the official website of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC).

Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving in Bulgaria

Consuming even a single alcoholic beverage can lead to dizziness and impair cognitive function. As a result, the risk of accidents increases significantly, making drunk driving a serious concern.

The effects of alcohol typically become noticeable within 30 minutes to 2 hours after consumption. Alcohol or drug consumption can result in various impairments, including:

  • Difficulty accurately assessing distances and speeds
  • Reduced visual clarity
  • Slower reaction times
  • Instances of panic
  • Hallucinations
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Increased aggression

No matter how someone feels or looks, drinking alcohol can make them feel more confident and cause them to behave irresponsibly. Doing such things increases the chances of hurting themselves and others on the road.

It’s important to know that different people react differently to alcohol. Even if someone’s alcohol level is below the legal limit in Bulgaria, they may still show signs of intoxication. Many things can affect a person’s alcohol level, such as the following:

  • Gender
  • Weight
  • Hunger
  • Stress levels
  • Amount of alcohol consumed
  • Medication intake

Even if you think you’re sober after drinking alcohol, your driving ability can still be affected. In some cases, people only realize the effects of alcohol when they are already driving.

BAC calculators and charts can estimate how much alcohol you can consume before driving, but you must remember that everyone reacts differently to alcohol. Thus, these tools may not be accurate for everyone.

It’s recommended to use a certified alcohol breathalyzer to measure your blood alcohol content accurately.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in Bulgaria

Consuming even a small quantity of alcohol can have a notable negative impact on your driving abilities. Even at blood alcohol concentrations as low as 0.010% to 0.029%, your coordination and decision-making skills may be affected, and these impairments become more noticeable as your BAC level increases.

Laws and penalties related to drunk driving can differ from one country to another. An overview of the consequences of driving under the influence in Bulgaria is provided below.

Test Refusal

It is illegal to refuse to be breathalyzed or tested for drugs. Refusal could lead to suspension from driving for two years and fined up to BGN 2,000.

BAC Level of 0.05% to 0.08%

Offenders with a BAC level of 0.05% to 0.08% may face the following penalties in Bulgaria.

  • License Suspension: Six (6)months
  • Penalty Points: Ten (10) points
  • Fines: BGN 250
  • Vehicle Ban: Six (6) to twelve (12) months

BAC Level of 0.08% to 0.12%

Drivers with a BAC level of 0.08% to 0.12% in Bulgaria may lead to the following sanctions:

  • License Suspension: Twelve (12)months
  • Penalty Points: Ten (10) points
  • Fines: BGN 500
  • Vehicle Ban: Six (6) to twelve (12) months

BAC Level Above 0.12%

Drivers caught operating a vehicle in Bulgaria while having a BAC exceeding 0.12% may receive the following punishment:

  • Jail Time: One (1) to three (3) years
  • Fines: Up to BGN 1,000
  • Vehicle Ban: Six (6) to twelve (12) months

When Can You Drink and Drive in Bulgaria?

As mentioned earlier, several factors can influence BAC levels. Gender is a significant factor that affects BAC.

The higher presence of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) enzymes, responsible for metabolizing alcohol, in male bodies is believed to contribute to the difference in BAC levels between males and females. This is why men tend to metabolize alcohol faster than women.

Drinking alcohol can impair vision and significantly increase the risk of accidents when driving. It is recommended to completely abstain from alcohol consumption before driving.

The following suggestions serve as general guidelines to help you determine how much alcohol you can consume before driving. However, it’s important to remember that individual responses to alcohol can vary. The suggested alcohol quantities provided are approximate estimates and may not be suitable for everyone.

How Many Bottles of Beer Can You Drink and Drive in Bulgaria?

Drinking beer and driving in Bulgaria

An individual’s weight has a significant impact on their BAC. BAC charts show that individuals with lower body weights tend to have higher BAC levels.

For example, consider a man weighing 160 pounds (72 kg) who drinks a 12-ounce (350 ml) beer. His estimated BAC may be around 0.02%. However, a woman of the same weight may have a BAC of approximately 0.03% after consuming the same amount of beer. This comparison highlights how gender influences alcohol metabolism.

If you plan to drive after drinking beer, limiting your intake to one or two bottles is best.

How Many Wine Glasses Can You Drink and Drive in Bulgaria?

A regular serving of wine is typically about 142 milliliters (5 ounces) and has an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 12%.

If a man weighing 160 pounds (72 kilograms) drinks a glass of wine, his estimated blood alcohol content (BAC) may reach approximately 0.02%. However, it’s essential to take into account that factors such as stress, medication, and hunger can influence BAC levels.

It is recommended to limit wine intake to one or two glasses.

How Many Whiskey or Vodka Shots Can You Drink and Drive in Bulgaria?

Whiskey and vodka typically have an ABV of 40%.

Likewise, if a man weighing 160 pounds consumes one shot of whiskey or vodka, his estimated blood alcohol content (BAC) may be approximately 0.02%. Conversely, a woman of the same weight may have a BAC level of around 0.03% after consuming the same amount. Again, it’s important to consider that the factors mentioned earlier can influence these levels.

Limiting the consumption of whiskey or vodka to one or two shots is advisable.

Sticking to Drink and Drive Laws in Bulgaria

Drinking even a small portion of alcohol can significantly impair a driver’s abilities and present a significant danger to road safety. Drivers must be cautious and fully understand the consequences of driving under the influence.

Furthermore, it is vital to regularly assess your blood alcohol level, even if you have only consumed a small quantity of alcohol. If you are uncertain about your driving capacity, it is recommended to explore alternative transportation options.

A certified alcohol breathalyzer is dependable for monitoring your blood alcohol level.

We recommend visiting ETSC’s official website for more information on drunk driving in Bulgaria.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.