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

drinking and driving laws in Norway

Norway enforces a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.02% or 0.2 grams per liter (g/L) of blood. This limit is lower compared to other countries in Europe. Violating this BAC limit can cause fines and penal and administrative sanctions.

Considering the different factors that affect an individual’s BAC level, it usually takes one standard drink to achieve a BAC of 0.02%.

This page aims to educate people and spread awareness about the risks of drunk driving in Norway. We want to highlight that this website does not endorse or promote driving under the influence of alcohol.

Around 25% of all road fatalities in Norway are attributed to drink-driving. The accident analysis team of the National Road Administration has verified that driving while intoxicated was a factor that contributed to 25% of the fatal collisions that occurred from 2017 to 2020. Among the crashes caused by impairment, 47% involved drivers who had consumed alcohol.

These numbers emphasize that a significant proportion of deaths on the road could have been prevented if the drivers involved had not been under the influence of alcohol.

Driving under the influence of alcohol presents significant risks to your own safety and that of other drivers on the road. It is vital to refrain from driving after consuming alcohol to avoid these hazards.

If driving is necessary, consider utilizing designated driver services, taking a taxi, or using alternative means of transportation.

Obeying the regulations and laws regarding driving while intoxicated is essential. It is vital to be aware of your blood alcohol level before driving, and the most precise way to determine this is by using a breathalyzer.

For further information about Norway’s laws on drunk driving, please visit the country’s official website.

Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving in Norway

Symptoms of alcohol intoxication may begin to take effect after your first drink. Alcohol can impair your capacity to think clearly and drive you to act in ways you would not ordinarily do if you were sober. As a result, the likelihood of causing a collision when driving drunk is high.

Alcohol typically takes 30 to 2 hours to enter your system after drinking. Driving when influenced by alcohol or drugs is dangerous since it can impair various aspects of your driving ability, including the following:

  • Perception of distance and speed,
  • Vision impairment,
  • Reaction time and cohesiveness,
  • The unpredictability of behavior,
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia, 
  • Hallucinations,
  • Drowsiness,
  • Nausea,
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors, and
  • Aggression.

Alcohol consumption can create a misleading sense of confidence which usually leads to dangerous actions. Even if you don’t feel or appear drunk, signs of intoxication can still be present. These effects can cause an increased risk of endangering yourself and others on the road.

It’s important to note that while Norway enforces a legal BAC limit of 0.02%, it’s not necessarily achievable with just one drink for everyone. Various factors can influence an individual’s BAC levels, such as:

  • Gender
  • Weight
  • Hunger
  • Stress levels
  • Quantity of alcohol consumed
  • Medication use

We suggest utilizing an alcohol breathalyzer to verify your BAC level before getting behind the wheel. There are times when you may not feel drunk, yet your ability to drive is impaired by alcohol. In some circumstances, the effects of alcohol become apparent while the individual is driving.

While BAC charts and BAC calculators can help you figure out how much alcohol you can drink before driving. However, keep in mind that everyone’s reaction to alcohol differs. As a result, these tools may not be suitable for everyone.

Using a certified alcohol breathalyzer is still the most reliable way to determine your BAC.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in Norway

Consuming alcohol can significantly impair your driving abilities. Even a tiny amount of alcohol can affect your judgment and coordination.

Although a blood alcohol level between 0.010% to 0.029% may not exhibit obvious signs of impairment, symptoms of intoxication become more apparent as the BAC levels increase.

Driving laws and sanctions vary across different countries. In Norway, driving while under the influence of alcohol can result in severe consequences. Therefore, it’s advisable to check your blood alcohol level before driving and ensure you can drive safely.

Norway’s drink-and-drive penalties are outlined below for your reference.

BAC Level of 0.02% to 0.05%

  • Fines: Equivalent to one month of gross salary
  • Driving Ban: Maximum of six months suspension of driving privileges

BAC Level of 0.05% to 0.12%

  • Fines: Equivalent to 1.5 months gross salary
  • Driving Ban: 12 to 24 months of driving suspension
  • Imprisonment: A conditional or unconditional sentence of jail time

BAC Level of 0.12% Above

  • Fines: A fine worth 1.5 months’ gross salary
  • Driving Ban: Minimum of two (2) years driving ban
  • Imprisonment: A conditional or unconditional sentence of jail time

When Can You Drink and Drive in Norway?

As previously stated, BAC levels can be influenced by various circumstances. Men and women have different BAC levels, according to research. The reason behind this difference is due to men’s abundance of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) enzymes in their bodies than women.

The ADH is in charge of alcohol metabolism. Hence, men digest alcohol more quickly than women.

Even if you only had a few sips of alcohol, it can affect your vision and increase the likelihood of driving risks. Therefore, it’s crucial to prioritize road safety and make responsible decisions to prevent accidents and injuries.

Below are some guidelines that can give you an idea of how much alcohol you can handle before driving in Norway. But remember that everyone reacts differently to alcohol, so the information below is just a rough estimate and may not apply to everyone.

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

Drinking beer and driving in Norway

Another element that can influence blood alcohol levels is weight. BAC charts show that individuals with lower body weights have greater BAC levels.

For example, a man weighing 72 kilos (160 pounds) who drinks a 350 ml (12-ounce) beer may have a BAC of 0.02%. On the other hand, a woman with the same weight and amount of beer consumption may reach a BAC of 0.03%. This comparison emphasizes the role of gender in alcohol metabolism.

Given this scenario, it is advised not to consume any amount of beer before driving in Norway. 

How Many Glasses of Wine Can You Drink and Drive in Norway?

An average wine glass usually holds about 142 milliliters (5 ounces) and contains 12% ABV.

In a scenario where a man weighing 72 kilograms (160 pounds) drinks a single glass of wine, their BAC may reach 0.02%. However, it’s worth noting that factors like stress, an empty stomach, and drug use can impact BAC levels.

Considering this, it’s best to avoid consuming wine or any other alcoholic beverage before driving.

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

Distilled spirits like vodka and whiskey often contain 40% ABV.

If a male weighing 72 kilograms (160 pounds) consumes a single shot of either drink, their BAC could reach 0.02%. For a woman of the same weight who drinks the same amount, their BAC could be around 0.03%.

However, these are only approximate BAC levels as several factors, such as stress, drug use, and an empty stomach, can influence BAC values.

Hence, it’s best to avoid drinking whiskey or vodka if you plan to drive later. This approach can help prevent potential risks and ensure safe driving.

Sticking to Drink and Drive Laws in Norway

Driving while impaired poses a significant threat to road safety. Even a single drink can impair a driver’s coordination and driving ability. To avoid the risks of drunk driving, drivers must be aware of the consequences and take necessary precautions.

It’s crucial to monitor your BAC level before driving, even if you only consumed a small amount of alcohol. If you’re unsure about your ability to drive safely, consider using alternative modes of transportation.

Using a certified alcohol breathalyzer to check your BAC level is an excellent way to ensure you’re within the legal BAC limit and prevent accidents. This method can also help ensure your safety on the road.

We recommend visiting Norway’s official website for the latest information on drinking and driving laws in the country.

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.