Alcohol testing in Victoria and BAC – all you need to know

BAC, alcohol testing in Victoria and more. Find out the details in this article. Credit TAC.

While the festive season – or should that be silly season – has passed, many Victorians will be heading out in the coming warmer months to socialise and party. And if this is mixed with driving or work, it can be a fatal combination. Or, if you fail alcohol testing in Victoria, it could be costly.

So, how many drinks can you have before you will be unsafe to drive or work and would fail alcohol testing in Victoria? How long does it take for alcohol to be removed from your system?

The RACV, Victoria’s premium motoring body, has published an excellent ‘all you need to know’ article on BAC, alcohol testing and more. The article uses the expertise of Dr Sarah Benson, a post-doctoral research fellow at Swinburne University’s Centre for Human Pyschopharmacology. Dr Benson has been involved in a range of clinical trials assessing the neurocognitive effects of alcohol, so she knows a thing or two about the subject.

Some of her key points are:

  • The term BAC, that we hear so often in relation to alcohol testing in Victoria and Australia, refers to blood alcohol concentration. It’s a measure of how much alcohol is in the bloodstream. 0.05 is 0.05g of alcohol in every 100ml of blood.
  • When it comes to trying to work out how much you can drink to stay below 0.05 and avoid falling foul of alcohol testing in Victoria, it gets tricky. The body will generally metabolise 0.01 BAC, or one standard drink, per hour. However, the amount an individual can drink before reaching 0.05 varies. That’s why if you need to drive or work it’s best to not drink.
  • You may have heard that it’s important to eat if you’re drinking. Why? As explained in the article, “Alcohol that’s ingested on an empty stomach will be absorbed into the blood more quickly and result in a higher BAC. Dr Benson says the amount of food in your stomach “drastically influences your BAC”, which is why it’s never a good idea to drink on an empty stomach.”
  • If you’re asking, “Is there anything I can do to speed up the time my body processes alcohol” the answer in simple terms is no. Forget exercise, sleep, cold showers, water or coffee!
  • It is true that you can build up a tolerance to alcohol, because your body becomes more efficient at processing it. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Regular, heavy drink has been shown to have significant impact on health and can cause a range of illnesses and diseases.
  • Breathalysers, the alcohol testing devices that are used on roadsides and workplaces in Victoria, do not measure the alcohol in your mouth but in your breath.
  • For the age old question of whether breathalysers can be manipulated, Dr Benson simply says no. “The only way to get a lower BAC reading is to drink less alcohol.”

To find out more about alcohol testing in Victoria, BAC and everything you need to know about the subject, read the full article on the RACV website.


BAC, alcohol testing in Victoria and more. Find out the details in this article. Credit TAC.

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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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