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

drinking and driving laws in Italy

Drivers in Italy are required to meet a particular limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) set at 0.05% grams or equivalent to 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. Failure to comply with this standard may result in various penalties, such as fines or legal and administrative measures.

The effects of alcohol on BAC can vary between individuals. While consuming one or two standard alcoholic drinks may raise the BAC to 0.05%, this can differ depending on factors such as the person’s physiology. For instance, two individuals who consume the same quantity of beer could have varying levels of alcohol in their bloodstream.

This page aims to educate and raise awareness among individuals about the dangers associated with drunk driving in Italy. It’s important to note that the information provided on this site neither supports nor encourages the act of driving a vehicle while intoxicated in any country or territory.

In 2020, Italy recorded 2,395 road fatalities, a 24.5% drop from 2019. Road injury crashes fell by 72% in March 2020 and 83% in April 2020. 

Italy published a General Guideline for the Road Safety Strategy Plan 2030 in January 2021. The Safe System concept will serve as the foundation for the new plan, including five pillars: road safety management, safer roads, safer automobiles, safer road users, and post-crash assistance.

It is critical to avoid driving after drinking alcohol to protect your safety and other drivers’ safety. If you must travel, consider secure transportation options such as designated driver services or using a cab to reduce potential risks.

Becoming acquainted with the drunk driving regulations of the country you are visiting is essential. Furthermore, utilizing an alcohol breathalyzer to measure your blood alcohol level frequently can ensure that you are not drunk.

You may visit Italy’s official website for additional information about drunk driving laws.

Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving in Italy

Consuming even a single alcoholic drink can cause dizziness and impair your cognitive abilities, thereby affecting your decision-making and normal behavior. Drunk driving poses a significant threat, given that it increases the likelihood of accidents.

The effects of alcohol typically manifest within 30 minutes to two hours of consumption. If you drink alcohol or use drugs before driving, you may experience various impairments, such as:

  • Difficulty accurately assessing distances and speeds
  • Impaired vision
  • Slower reaction times
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Hallucinations
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Increased aggression or irritability

Alcohol intake can create a sense of unwarranted confidence, leading to reckless behavior, even if you don’t feel or look inebriated. Such actions increase the risk of causing harm to yourself and other motorists on the road.

It’s essential to acknowledge that each individual reacts differently to alcohol. Even if you don’t surpass the legal blood alcohol limit of 0.05% in Italy, you may exhibit indications of impairment. Various factors can influence a person’s BAC.such as the following:

  • Weight,
  • Gender,
  • Hunger,
  • Stress levels,
  • The volume of alcohol consumed, and
  • Medication use.

It’s possible for your driving ability to be impaired even if you feel sober after drinking. Some individuals may not feel the effects of alcohol until they are already driving. We recommend using an alcohol breathalyzer to check your blood alcohol content before getting behind the wheel.

While BAC calculators and charts can provide an estimate of how much alcohol you can consume before driving, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s response to alcohol differs. Hence, these tools may not be suitable for everyone.

The most reliable method of measuring your BAC is by using a certified alcohol breathalyzer.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in Italy

Consuming alcohol, even in small quantities, can considerably diminish your driving skills. A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level as low as 0.010% to 0.029% can affect your coordination and decision-making abilities, with symptoms worsening as your BAC level rises.

The regulations and penalties for drunk driving may vary based on the country. Operating a vehicle while impaired with alcohol in Italy can result in severe consequences.

Below are Italy’s penalties for drinking and driving for your reference.

Penalties For Young, Novice, and Professional Drivers

BAC Level up to 0.05%

  • Fines: From € 164 (administrative fine)
  • Penalty Points: 5

BAC Level up to 0.08%

  • Fines: From € 712 (administrative fine)
  • Driving Ban: From 4 to 8 months of driving suspension
  • Penalty Points: 10

BAC Level up to 0.15%

  • Fines: From €1066 (criminal fine)
  • Driving Ban: From 8 to 18 months
  • Penalty Points: 10
  • Jail Time: Up to 9 months of imprisonment

BAC Level Above 0.015% 

  • Fines: from €2000 (criminal fine)
  • Driving Ban: From 16 to 36 months
  • Penalty Points: 10
  • Jail Time: From 8 to 18 months
  • The Consequence for Vehicle: Confiscation

Penalties For All Other Drivers

BAC Level of 0.05% to 0.08%

  • Fines: From € 544 (administrative fine)
  • Driving Ban: From 3 to 6 months
  • Penalty Points: 10

BAC Level of 0.08% to 0.15%

  • Fines: From € 800 (criminal fine)
  • Driving Ban: From 6 to 12
  • Penalty Points: 10
  • Jail Time: Up to 6

BAC Level Above 0.15%

  • Fines: From € 1500 (criminal fine)
  • Driving Ban: From 12 to 24 months
  • Penalty Points: 10
  • Jail Time: From 6 to 12 months
  • The Consequence for Vehicle: Confiscation

When Can You Drink and Drive in Italy?

As mentioned earlier, several factors, including gender, can affect BAC levels. According to research, men and women have different BAC levels due to the higher concentration of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) enzymes in men’s bodies, which are responsible for breaking down alcohol. This fact leads to men absorbing alcohol more rapidly than women.

Drinking alcohol can impact your vision and increase the likelihood of accidents while driving. Therefore, it’s advisable to avoid consuming alcohol before operating a vehicle to ensure road safety.

The recommendations below can help you determine how much alcohol you can drink before driving in Italy. However, it is crucial to remember that everyone’s reaction to alcohol varies, and the information presented here is merely an approximation. Thus, the recommended quantity of alcohol indicated below may not be appropriate for everyone.

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

Drinking beer and driving in Italy

An individual’s weight is a crucial factor in determining their blood alcohol levels. BAC charts show that people with lower body weights typically have higher BAC levels.

For example, a 160-pound (72 kg) man who drinks a 12-ounce (350 ml) beer may have a BAC of 0.02%, while a woman of the same weight who consumes the same quantity of beer may have a BAC of 0.03%. This comparison emphasizes how gender can impact alcohol metabolism.

As a result, it’s advisable to limit beer intake to one or two bottles if you plan to drive afterward.

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

A typical serving of wine is approximately 142 milliliters (5 ounces), with an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 12%.

For instance, a man weighing 160 pounds (72 kilograms) who drinks a glass of wine may have a BAC of 0.02%. However, remember that stress, medication, and an empty stomach can all affect your BAC levels.

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

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

It’s essential to remember that the alcohol content of distilled spirits like whiskey and vodka is usually 40% ABV. Nonetheless, it’s important to note that various factors, such as weight, gender, stress, medication, and an empty stomach, can influence a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

For example, a 160-pound (72-kilogram) man who drinks one shot of whiskey or vodka may have a BAC of around 0.02%, while a woman with the same body weight who consumes the same amount of alcohol may have a BAC of approximately 0.03%. However, it’s worth noting that these levels may increase due to the factors mentioned above.

Limiting your consumption to one to two shots of whiskey or vodka is preferable.

Sticking to Drink and Drive Laws in Italy

Driving under the influence of alcohol seriously threatens road safety, and even a tiny amount of alcohol can impair a driver’s coordination and driving abilities. Therefore, drivers must take necessary precautions and fully understand the consequences of drinking and driving.

It is essential to regularly monitor your blood alcohol level, even if you only consume a single beer or a small amount of wine. If you are uncertain about your driving ability, consider alternative transportation methods.

A certified alcohol breathalyzer is a reliable device to monitor your blood alcohol level and ensure compliance with legal limits, preventing accidents and ensuring your safety on the road.

We recommend visiting Italy’s official website for the most up-to-date information on drinking and driving laws and regulations.

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.