Are you OK to drive? Are you OK to work? Will you fail alcohol testing?


It certainly is the season to be jolly, but how will you know if you’re OK to drive and work if you’ve been a bit too jolly?

That’s the question many people should be asking themselves the morning after the work Christmas party or after any night of drinking excessive alcohol. Because, while you might feel a bit rough around the edges but otherwise OK to drive and work, there’s a chance you might not be and would fail a random alcohol testing.

So what does the science say?

For a start, there’s not a one-size fits all answer. That’s because the amount of alcohol your body will break down can be significantly different from someone else. Your sex, age, body size, body fat and general health all play a part, in addition to how much or little you’ve had to eat.

That aside, as a general rule of thumb, it takes the average person 1 hour to break down 1 standard alcoholic drink. That’s one standard drink – not one of those epic glasses of wine or cocktail that you consumed at 2am! So, if you stick to 1 standard drink per hour you should be OK to drive home that night and will almost definitely be fine the next day, even if your night finishes at 3 o’clock in the morning and you start work at 8am.

If should and will almost definitely doesn’t leave you with a lot of confidence – and it shouldn’t – remember that it’s always wise to leave a margin of error. After all, can you be sure that the pot of beer your drinking is a typical 0.6 standard drinks or whether it might be higher alcohol beer and therefore closer to 1 standard drink? Can you be sure that the waiter hasn’t been a bit heavy pouring your glass of wine and given you 1.5 standard drinks?

Short of taking a measuring device and asking every time you order a drink, you can’t. In fact, most of us will even have trouble counting our drinks on a big night!

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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