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

drinking and driving laws in Finland

The blood alcohol content (BAC) limit when driving in Finland is below 0.05% grams or 0.5 grams of alcohol per liter of blood. Following this threshold is a legal requirement and encourages responsible behavior. If you don’t comply, you may face fines and legal consequences.

The impact of alcohol on blood alcohol concentration differs from person to person. Consuming one or two standard alcoholic drinks can elevate the blood alcohol level to 0.05%. Nevertheless, this quantity can vary based on an individual’s unique physiology and anatomy. Even if two people consume the same amount of beer, their blood alcohol contents may differ.

This page intends to increase awareness regarding the risks associated with driving under the influence in Finland. This site does not endorse or promote impaired driving, regardless of country or region.

In Finland, the statistics regarding drunk driving show a positive trend. Alcohol-related road deaths witnessed a faster annual decrease of 4% compared to other road deaths until 2018.

A notable decline can be observed in collisions involving drivers, riders, or pedestrians with a BAC exceeding 0.05% or with a strong suspicion of being intoxicated with alcohol during the crash. In 2010, 77 individuals lost their lives in such incidents, whereas the number decreased to 37 in recent years.

These figures highlight the ongoing efforts to combat drunk driving and promote road safety in Finland.

Refraining from driving after consuming alcohol is a must for everyone’s safety. If you need to travel after drinking, it is advisable to consider safe alternative modes of transportation. 

Choosing authorized driving services or taxis is a reliable option that helps reduce potential hazards.

Familiarizing yourself with the local regulations regarding drunk driving before visiting a particular country is essential. Additionally, regularly using an alcohol breathalyzer to monitor your blood alcohol level can help ensure you are not impaired by alcohol.

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

Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving in Finland

Even consuming just one alcoholic drink can cause dizziness and negatively affect cognitive abilities. Hence, drunk driving significantly raises the risk of accidents.

The effects of alcohol usually become apparent within 30 minutes to 2 hours after consumption. Alcohol or drug use can lead to several impairments, such as:

  • Difficulty in accurately judging distances and speeds
  • Reduced clarity of vision
  • Slower reaction times
  • Panic attacks
  • Hallucinations
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Heightened aggression

Regardless of how someone appears or feels, alcohol consumption can lead to increased confidence and irresponsible behavior. Engaging in such actions raises the likelihood of causing compromising safety on the road.

It is crucial to understand that individuals react differently to alcohol. Even if someone’s alcohol level is below the legal limit in Finland, they may still exhibit signs of intoxication. Several factors can influence a person’s alcohol level, including:

  • Gender
  • Weight
  • Hunger
  • Stress levels
  • Quantity of alcohol consumed
  • Intake of medications

Even if you believe you’re sober after consuming alcohol, it can still impair your driving skills. Sometimes, you may only realize the impact of alcohol when you are already behind the wheel.

BAC calculators and charts can estimate how much alcohol you can consume before driving, but it’s important to remember that individual reactions to alcohol can vary. Therefore, these tools may not be entirely accurate for everyone.

Using a certified alcohol breathalyzer is advisable to get your precise BAC level.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in Finland

Consuming even a tiny amount of alcohol can significantly impair your ability to drive. These impairments become more pronounced as your BAC level increases. Even at blood alcohol concentrations as low as 0.010% to 0.029%, your coordination and decision-making skills may be affected.

Drunk driving laws and penalties can vary between countries. Below is an outline of the consequences of driving under the influence in Finland.

BAC Level Fines Driving Ban Imprisonment
0.5 to 0.59 g/L Less than 40-day fines Two months (first time)

Seven months (repeat offense)

0.6 to 0.69 g/L 40 to 49-day fines Two months, two weeks (first time)

Seven months, two weeks (repeat offense)

0.7 to 0.79 g/L 50 to 59-day fines Three months (first time)

Eight months (repeat offense)

0.9% to 0.99 g/L 60 to 69 day-fines Four months (first time)

Nine months (repeat offense)

1.0 to 1.09 g/L More than 69-day fine Five months (first time)

Nine months two weeks (repeat offense)

1.1 to 1.19 g/L Six months (first time)

Ten months (repeat offense)

Less than 30 days
1.2 to 1.49 g/L Seven months (first time)

One year two months (repeat offense)

Less than 45 days
1.5 to 1.99 g/L Eight months (first time)

One year four months (repeat offense)

45 to 59 days
2.0 to 2.49 g/L Ten months (first time)

One year six months (repeat offense)

60 to 79 days
2.5 to 2.99 g/L One year (first time)

One year eight months (repeat offense)

4 months
3.0 g/L Five years More than 4 months

When Can You Drink and Drive in Finland?

As mentioned previously, various factors can impact BAC levels, and one significant factor is gender.

The higher presence of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) enzymes, which control the breaking down of alcohol, in male bodies is believed to contribute to the disparity in BAC levels between males and females. This is why men tend to metabolize alcohol more quickly than women.

Drinking alcohol can impair vision and significantly elevate the risk of accidents while driving. It is advisable to completely refrain from consuming alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

The following recommendations are general guidelines to help you determine the amount of alcohol you can consume before driving. However, bear in mind that individual responses to alcohol can differ. The suggested quantities of alcohol provided are rough estimates and may not apply to everyone.

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

Drinking beer and driving in Finland

An individual’s body weight plays a significant role in determining their BAC. BAC charts demonstrate that individuals with lower body weights generally have higher BAC levels.

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

If you intend to drive after consuming beer, limiting your intake to one or two bottles is advisable.

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

A standard serving of wine is usually around 142 milliliters (5 ounces) and contains 12% alcohol by volume (ABV).

If a man weighing 160 pounds (72 kilograms) consumes a glass of wine, his estimated blood alcohol content (BAC) might reach approximately 0.02%. However, it’s crucial to consider that factors like stress, medication, and hunger can affect BAC levels.

It is advisable to restrict wine consumption to one or two glasses.

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

Whiskey and vodka typically have an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 40%.

Similarly, if a man weighing 160 pounds consumes a single shot of whiskey or vodka, his estimated blood alcohol content may reach approximately 0.02%. In contrast, a woman of the same body weight may have a BAC level of around 0.03% after consuming the same quantity. 

Once more, it’s crucial to consider that the factors mentioned earlier can impact these levels.

Limiting the intake of whiskey or vodka to one or two shots is recommended.

Sticking to Drink and Drive Laws in Finland

Drinking alcohol can significantly diminish a driver’s abilities and pose a significant threat to road safety. It is crucial for drivers to exercise caution and fully comprehend the repercussions of driving while under the influence.

Moreover, it is essential to regularly assess your blood alcohol level, even if you have only consumed a small portion of alcohol. If you are uncertain about your driving ability, exploring alternative transportation options is advisable.

Using a certified alcohol breathalyzer is a reliable method to monitor your blood alcohol level.

For additional information on drunk driving in Finland, we recommend visiting the official website of ETSC.

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.