2024 Drink-Driving Regulations in Greece

drinking and driving laws in Greece

In Greece, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drivers is set at 0.05%, which translates to 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.

What is the legal alcohol limit for driving in Greece?

In Greece, the legal limit of alcohol concentration in the bloodstream varies depending on the driver’s category. Recognizing these limits is crucial for both residents and visitors who plan to drive in the country. Here’s a breakdown of the legal alcohol limits by driver category:

  • Regular Drivers: The legal BAC limit is 0.05% (50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood).
  • Novice Drivers: For those who have held their driving license for less than two years, the limit is stricter at 0.02 grams per liter (g/l).
  • Professional Drivers: This category includes drivers of buses, trucks, and taxis, for whom the legal limit is also set at 0.02 g/l.

Drink and Drive Penalties and Punishments in Greece

Driving under the influence of alcohol in Greece is subject to strict regulations and severe penalties. The Greek Road Traffic Code delineates clear legal alcohol limits and sanctions for drivers found to be over these limits, aiming to enhance road safety and reduce accidents caused by impaired driving. It’s important for all drivers in Greece, whether residents or visitors, to understand these regulations and the associated penalties for non-compliance.

Legal Alcohol Limits:

  • Standard Drivers: The legal limit is set at 0.5 grams per liter (g/l).
  • Novice Drivers (with less than 2 years of experience), Professional Drivers (including those operating heavy goods vehicles, school buses, and coaches), Motorcyclists, and Moped Riders: A lower limit of 0.2g/l applies, reflecting the greater responsibilities or risks associated with these categories of drivers.

Detailed Sanctions for Drink-Driving Offences:

BAC level (g/L) Fines in € Driving Ban Minimum Prison Sentence
0.50 g/l to 0.80 g/l 200 €
0.80 g/l to 1.10 g/l 700 € 90 days
Over 1.10 g/l 1,200 € 180 days 2 months
Over 1.10 g/l (within 2 years after a previous violation) 2,000 € 5 years 6 months

These penalties are designed to deter drink-driving and underscore the importance of sober driving. The fines increase with the severity of the offense, and repeat offenders face harsher punishments, including long-term driving bans and prison sentences.

Given the seriousness of these penalties, it is crucial for drivers to adhere strictly to these limits and to be fully aware of the consequences of drink-driving. Laws and penalties can change, so it’s recommended to regularly consult the official website for the most up-to-date information on drink and drive penalties and punishments in Greece. Staying informed ensures that drivers can make responsible choices and avoid the severe repercussions of violating drink-driving laws.

How to Calculate If Your Alcohol Blood Limit Is Legal in Greece

In Greece, the enforcement of drink-driving laws is a critical aspect of road safety. The police utilize breathalyzers at checkpoints or during traffic stops to quickly assess a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). This immediate method helps identify those driving under the influence, ensuring that individuals who exceed the legal alcohol limits face the appropriate penalties.

For those concerned about staying within legal limits, there are reliable ways to estimate your BAC, helping to make informed decisions about driving after consuming alcohol. As an experienced phlebologist with a decade of expertise, I recommend the following methods:

  1. Use a High-Quality Alcohol Breathalyzer: Investing in a reliable alcohol breathalyzer is a wise choice for anyone who wishes to ensure they’re driving legally. One of the best options available in Greece is the BACtrack S80. This device offers professional-grade accuracy and is DOT & NHTSA approved, as well as FDA 510(k) cleared. Its precision and reliability make it an invaluable tool for drivers. I strongly advise keeping one in your vehicle, as it can provide a clear indication of your BAC, helping to prevent the risk of driving while impaired.
  2. Utilize a BAC Calculator: Together with fellow phlebologists and web developers, I have developed an online BAC calculator. This tool is designed to give you an estimate of your BAC level based on the alcohol you’ve consumed, your weight, and other relevant factors. While no method outside of professional medical testing can offer 100% accuracy, our calculator is grounded in scientific principles and can serve as a helpful guide for understanding your BAC level.

It’s important to remember that both of these methods offer estimations and should not be considered infallible. The human body metabolizes alcohol in complex ways, and numerous factors can influence your actual BAC. Therefore, if you have any doubt about your ability to drive safely, the best decision is to refrain from driving.

By taking advantage of these tools, you can gain a better understanding of your BAC level and make safer choices regarding driving after drinking. This proactive approach can help prevent the serious consequences associated with drink-driving, ensuring that you and others on the road remain safe.

Ways to Avoid Driving with a High BAC in Greece

Drinking beer and driving in Greece

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense in Greece, with stringent penalties for those found over the legal limit. To ensure your safety and that of others on the road, it’s essential to plan ahead if you intend to consume alcohol. Here are practical recommendations for avoiding driving with a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in Greece:

  1. Utilize Taxi Services or Ride-Sharing Apps: One of the most straightforward ways to avoid driving after drinking is to use taxi services or ride-sharing apps. In major Greek cities, you have several options. For instance, in Athens, you can rely on services like Athens Taxi Wagon Service, which offers reliable and professional transportation. In Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki Taxi Transfers «Taxithess» provides excellent service for both local trips and airport transfers. These services can be easily booked over the phone or through their respective websites, ensuring you have a safe ride home.
  2. Order a Designated Driver Service: If you find yourself having driven to a venue and then consuming alcohol, leaving your car behind might not be your preferred option. In such cases, designated driver services offer a solution. These services provide a driver to safely drive you and your car back home. In Athens, Athens Private Driver is known for its reliability and professionalism. Similarly, in Thessaloniki, Blacklane offers a range of luxury transportation services, including designated drivers. To find a designated driver service in your area, a quick Google search for “designated driver service” followed by the name of your city will yield several options.

These alternatives not only help you avoid the risks associated with drink-driving but also ensure that you do not have to leave your vehicle unattended, potentially incurring additional costs or concerns. Planning your transportation in advance when you know you’ll be drinking is a responsible and effective way to enjoy your time without compromising on safety. Remember, the goal is always to ensure you and everyone else on the road gets home safely.


Sticking to Drink and Drive Laws in Greece: Sad Statistics

In recent years, Greece has witnessed a concerning number of road fatalities linked to alcohol, with figures from the Hellenic Statistical Authority showing 36 and 34 alcohol-related deaths in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Recognizing the urgent need for improved road safety, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport launched the National Strategic Plan for Road Safety in 2021, aiming for zero road fatalities by 2050 and aligning with the EU’s goal to halve deaths and severe injuries by 2030.

To combat the risk of drunk driving, it’s crucial for individuals to consider alternative transportation options after consuming alcohol. Utilizing designated driver services or taxis can significantly reduce the likelihood of accidents. Additionally, staying informed about the country’s drunk driving laws and regularly checking your BAC with a certified breathalyzer can help ensure personal and public safety on the roads.

For anyone seeking detailed information on Greece’s efforts to prevent drunk driving and the associated legalities, the European Transport Safety Council’s website serves as a valuable resource. Remember, responsible choices can dramatically decrease the risk of alcohol-related incidents, underscoring the importance of awareness and caution when drinking and driving.

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.