photography of woman holding side mirror in white and green 2-door pickup truck

When Did Drinking and Driving Become Illegal?

Drinking and driving is a dangerous and irresponsible act that puts the lives of both the driver and others on the road at risk. The legal consequences of this behavior can vary from country to country, but the general consensus worldwide is that drinking and driving is illegal and punishable by law.

The prohibition of drinking and driving has not always been in place. In fact, there was a time when it was not considered a crime at all. The history of when drinking and driving became illegal is an interesting journey that reflects the evolving attitudes towards alcohol consumption and road safety.

The Early Years

During the early years of the automobile, there were no specific laws against drinking and driving. In fact, it was not uncommon for people to consume alcohol while driving, as there was no awareness of the dangers it posed. However, as the number of cars on the road increased and the consequences of alcohol-impaired driving became evident, attitudes began to change.

Prohibition Era

One significant milestone in the fight against drinking and driving was the Prohibition era in the United States. From 1920 to 1933, the production, sale, and distribution of alcoholic beverages were completely banned. This period saw a significant decrease in alcohol-related traffic accidents, as there was no legal way to obtain alcohol.

However, the end of Prohibition did not mean the end of the fight against drinking and driving. As alcohol once again became legally available, it became clear that stricter regulations were needed to address the issue of impaired driving.

Emergence of Drunk Driving Laws

The first drunk driving laws were introduced in the 1930s and 1940s. These laws aimed to regulate the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels of drivers and set legal limits for alcohol consumption. However, the enforcement of these laws was not widespread, and there was still a lack of awareness about the dangers of drunk driving.

It was not until the 1980s that the issue of drunk driving gained significant attention and stricter measures were put in place. This was largely due to the efforts of advocacy groups and organizations raising awareness about the devastating consequences of alcohol-impaired driving.

Legal Blood Alcohol Concentration Limits

One of the key aspects of drinking and driving laws is the establishment of legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits. BAC is a measure of the amount of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. When the BAC exceeds a certain limit, it impairs a person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.

The legal BAC limit varies from country to country. In the United States, the legal limit is typically set at 0.08%, while in some countries, it may be lower. It is important to note that even with a BAC below the legal limit, alcohol can still impair a person’s judgment and reaction time, making it unsafe to drive.

Strict Penalties and Awareness Campaigns

Today, the penalties for drinking and driving can be severe. They may include fines, license suspension, mandatory alcohol education programs, and even imprisonment in some cases. Additionally, many countries have implemented awareness campaigns to educate the public about the dangers of drunk driving and encourage responsible alcohol consumption.

It is worth noting that the fight against drinking and driving is an ongoing battle. Despite the strict laws and awareness campaigns, there are still instances of alcohol-impaired driving that result in tragic accidents. This highlights the importance of continued efforts to address this issue and promote responsible behavior on the road.


Drinking and driving became illegal as the dangers of alcohol-impaired driving became evident. The journey towards stricter regulations and awareness campaigns has been a gradual process, with significant milestones along the way. While the specific timeline may vary from country to country, the general consensus is that drinking and driving is a serious offense that puts lives at risk. It is crucial for individuals to understand the consequences and act responsibly by refraining from driving under the influence of alcohol.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *