I drive my own car to and from my work-place. As is the case with many other men, on my way home I take few beers in the bars situated along the road. I would like to know if the law prescribes the quantity of beers a driver is authorised to drink as a police officer has been confusing me on what is allowed.
The Road Traffic Act [Cap.168 R.E 2002] does not prescribe the quantity of beers a drive is permitted to consume. However, section 49 of the Road Traffic Act limits the amount of alcohol content in the blood of a driver to 80 milligrams in 100 millilitres of blood. A driver whose blood contents is found with alcohol content exceeding the prescribed quantity commits an offence even if he doesn’t cause accident by driving while under influence of alcohol.
However, it is important to note that section 45(4) of the Road Traffic Act imposes a total prohibition on drivers not to consume any amount of intoxicating liquor when they drive or intend to drive on a public road or a public place. Hence the permitted amount of alcohol content allowed in the blood of a driver is only for liquors others than the intoxicating liquors. Whilst the Road Traffic Act does not define intoxicating liquors, section 2 of the Intoxicating Liquors Act [Cap.77 R.E 2002] is wide enough to cover beers, wine and all forms of spirits.
Hence beers are intoxicating liquors for which the law imposes a total prohibition for drivers not to drink regardless of the quantity consumed. The law on intoxicating liquor is so strict such that section 45(5) of the Road Traffic Act prohibits even giving a driver intoxicating liquor whether for free or for payment. A bar operator or attendant is not allowed to sell or give beers and other forms of intoxicating liquors to drivers especially when they see the buyer has parked the car in the bar and is driving herself or himself. This means when a driver consumes beers and drives, both the driver and the seller of the beers are guilty of a traffic offence.
To sum up, if you are driving, you cannot even consume a single beer as you will be contravening our law. It doesn’t matter if this is the norm with other men. All of you are breaching the law and we recommend you get drivers to drive you home when you decide to have beers.