Shine Lawyers Main Logo

Drink driving on P plates in Australia - the drink drive limit and consequences

4 minute read

Motor vehicle accident

In Australia, young drivers are overrepresented among the state’s drug and drink driving offenders. 

This is despite Australia having some of the strictest DUI laws in the world, with intoxicated young drivers risking heavy fines and the loss of their licence, as well as their own lives and that of other road users. 

Here we explain what the P Plater rules around drinking and driving, what the P Plater alcohol limits are and what support is available for people injured in drink-driving accidents. 

Drug & drink driving statistics in Australia

Australia has seen road deaths dropping generally in the last decade from about 1,300 per year, to about 1,100 per year. However, in 2023 we saw an increase in road deaths to 1,266.  

In Australia over one in four drivers and passengers killed, showed a blood alcohol concentration reading of .05 or higher, which is above the legal driving limit

While fatalities may thankfully be in decline, authorities are concerned with drug and drink driving trends, especially among young drivers. 

Drivers aged between 18-25 make up almost one-third of all drug and drink driving offenders, according to Victoria Police. The same group account for slightly under one in four drink driving offenders. These young drivers getting behind the wheel under the influence may face serious legal repercussions. 

What are the drug and drink driving limits in Australia?

The drink driving limit across Australia (i.e., in all states and territories) is 0.05 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) on full licence holders. It is also an offence in all states and territories to drive affected at all by illegal drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana and even prescribed medications with driving warnings.

Alcohol limit for P platers 

Every state and territory has a strict zero-tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol use for both learners and P plater drivers. In other words, no matter where you are in Australia, the drinki and drive alcohol limit for P platers is zero.

States may have different rules around learner or probationary licences, generally. For example, in Victoria you may have either a P1 (red P) or a P2 (green P). Regardless, these come with a drink drive limit of BAC of 0.00. In the case of learner drivers, this same restriction applies to their licenced supervisor.

So, it’s absolutely vital that you understand that the legal alcohol limit for P platers is absolutely none. We’re often asked, can green P platers drink alcohol? Again, the answer is no, regardless of the type of P plate, if you are driving on one, you cannot drink any alcohol and drive.

Can P platers drink alcohol?

Yes. P platers over the age of 18 are permitted to drink alcohol generally. However, they are never permitted to drive having taken even a single drink. And all drivers in every state and territory are prohibited from drinking alcohol while driving, regardless of whether they are under the legal limit.

What happens if I am injured by a drunk driver?

Drug and drink driving pose a serious risk to both the driver affected, their passengers and especially other road users. 

If you are injured in a road accident involving a drunk or drug affected driver, you will be able to claim compensation from the at-fault driver’s compulsory third party (CTP) insurance, as they will most likely be deemed negligent for the accident.  

Some states will have other support in place which will enable you to get help without having to worry about chasing the at-fault party. For example: 

Depending on the injured person’s circumstances and the state in which the injuries occurred, these various schemes and support systems may pay for medical and rehabilitative treatment, income support for lost earnings and lump-sum compensation.  

Each of these schemes is limited to insuring people. So they won’t pay compensation for damage to property like a car or bicycle, but it will if you are injured by another car while on a bicycle. 

Can a drink or drug-affected driver still obtain insurance benefits?

Drivers convicted of drink or drug driving offences can still access no-fault insurance benefits, such as those covered by the various state and territory-based schemes above. However, there may be some additional consequences and limitations. 

For example, in some cases, some benefits may be reduced if the injured person is convicted of drink driving, according to the severity of their offence. Any loss of earning benefits, designed to compensate earners for their lost income due to time off work while injured, may be reduced. While this varies by state and territory, in Victoria for example this will be reduced: 

  • by one-third if convicted with a BAC of more than 0.05 and less than 0.12 

  • by two-thirds if convicted with a BAC of more than 0.12 and less than 0.24. 

Generally, loss of earning benefits are not paid to injured drivers later convicted of driving: 

  • with a BAC of 0.24 or more 

  • while under the influence of an illegal drug. 

A conviction of a drug or drink driving related offence won’t affect an injured drivers’ access to medical treatment and support benefits.

Shine Lawyers’ compensation claim experts can help!

No matter how you’ve been injured on the roads, our team of motor vehicle accident law experts can help, even if your poor decisions have led to a drink or drug driving conviction. 

Our expert team often represents clients involved in accidents who have suffered: 

Our motor vehicle accident lawyers will be able to give you an idea of your entitlements based off your situation. Contact us to arrange an obligation-free consultation and tell your story.  

Or alternatively, find out if you have a claim and book an appointment with one of our solicitors by using our free online booking tool.  

Why choose Shine Lawyers for my compensation claim?

Shine Lawyers’ dedicated team of solicitors have the specialty experience needed to maximise your benefits. 

If you’ve been injured on the road in Australia, our CTP and state and territory-based scheme experts may be able to help you access benefits to aid your recovery — regardless of who was at-fault. Get in touch today.

Back to Resources

Do you have a claim?  

We’re here to make the claims process as simple and stress-free as possible.

Back to top


Shine Lawyers acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, waterways and community. We pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.

Shine Lawyers Pty Ltd | ABN 86 134 702 757

Copyright 2024 Shine Lawyers. All Rights Reserved