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Drunk Driving Laws in America vs. Other Countries

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Dangers of Drunk Driving

What do drunk driving laws from around the world look like? 
Photo: West Midlands Police

Ever wonder how other countries compare to drunk driving laws in America? You might be surprised to find that, depending on where you live, they can actually be even stricter!

In Australia, your license will be suspended for 6 months after the first offense and permanently after the second.

In El Salvador, anyone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over 0.01% will get their license automatically suspended and their vehicle seized.

In Finland, you may face a significant fine or imprisonment for up to two years.

In France, your car will be confiscated, you’ll lose your license for three years, face a possible year in jail, and be fined $1,000.

In England, you’ll lose your license for at least 1 year, receive a hefty fine, and possibly face up to half a year in prison.

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In Russia, as a first-time offender you can have your license suspended for two years, and even knowingly allowing an intoxicated person to take the wheel can get your license suspended.

In Sweden, a BAC over 0.02% will lead to a fine proportional to your bank savings. Your car might also be seized and you could be sent to an alcohol treatment program.

Finally, in the United States—well, we’re kind of unique with all our states and their different rules, so it’s hard to say. In Arizona, first time offenders face 10 days in jail and a $250 fine. In New York, you could go to jail for up to a year.

Other countries also approach the issue of drunk driving differently. Unlike the USA, many countries don’t see restricting access to alcohol as a useful way of reducing drunk driving. Instead, they find random breath tests, severe penalties, and even anti-DUI ads to be more effective.

They seem to have the right idea, too, as the rate of drunk driving and deaths caused by it are considerably lower in countries like Australia and England!