Alcohol, drugs and driving

It is an offence to drive a vehicle while under the influence of a substance such as alcohol, medication or drugs that may impair driving ability. This is stated in Section 8 of the 1994 Road Traffic Act.


In the Netherlands, there are strict regulations with regard to alcohol and driving. It is an offense to drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.05% or in excess of this level. The regulations are even stricter for motor vehicle drivers who have been license holders for less than five years. The blood alcohol limit for these drivers is 0.02%. This lower limit also applies to people under the age of 24 who drive mopeds, motorised bicycles and scooters.

Alcohol and boating

Boat operators are also subject to a legal limit with regard to alcohol use. It is an offence for a person to operate a vessel while affected by alcohol. The legal limit is a blood alcohol level of 0.05%. If this limit is exceeded, the authorities may impose a fine, a sailing ban, and/or impound the vessel.

Drugs and medication

Stricter legislation is being prepared with regard to drug use and driving. As of 1 January 2013, on site screening devices will be introduced to detect drivers under the influence of drugs. This law will also introduce limits on drug use and driving, and makes it an offence not to cooperate with enforcement agencies when required to take a drug test.

Further legislation is being prepared for the automatic suspension of a drivers license for anyone who has two offences within a five-year period of driving while above the legal limit. The legislation is expected to come into force on 1 July 2013.