Drunk driving as it is popularly known is a very common menace in Nigerian society with prevalent occurrence amongst the younger generation and also commercial drivers. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense that poses significant risks to public safety. A large percentage of the accidents that occur in Nigeria can rightly be ascribed to the drunken state of drivers before embarking on a journey which menace is largely avoidable. In Nigeria, as in many other countries, strict laws are in place to deter individuals from engaging in this dangerous behavior.

This article aims to shed light on the legal regime surrounding drunk driving in Nigeria and the severe consequences that offenders may face.


Driving under the influence (DUI) is the offense of driving, operating, or being in control of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs (including recreational drugs and those prescribed by physicians), to a level that renders the driver incapable of operating a motor vehicle safely1

Driving under the influence is a serious offense that can have far-reaching consequences, not only for the driver but also for others on the road.

In Nigeria, the primary legislation governing drunk driving is the Road Safety Commission Act2. Under this act, it is an offense to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating substance that impairs one's ability to drive safely. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drivers is set at 0.05g3.

Driving under the influence is a major contributor to road accidents in Nigeria, causing a staggering number of fatalities and injuries each year. Alcohol and drug impairment lessen judgment, reaction time, and coordination, making it extremely dangerous to operate a motor vehicle. The consequences of drunk driving extend far beyond the immediate impact of an accident.


Arrest and Detention: If a driver is suspected of driving under the influence, law enforcement officers have the authority to stop and detain them for further investigation. This may involve conducting field sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests to determine the driver's level of impairment.

Penalties: Offenders found guilty of driving under the influence can face severe penalties, including fines, imprisonment, or both. The specific penalties vary depending on the circumstances of the offense and whether it is a first-time or repeat offense.

Fines and Imprisonment: The fines for drunk driving can range from thousands to millions of Naira, depending on factors such as BAC level and previous convictions. Offenders may face imprisonment ranging from a few months to several years, depending on the severity of the offense and any previous convictions. By virtue of the Road Safety Act 2007, the prescribed punishment is a fine of N5,000.00 (Five thousand naira) or a term not exceeding 2 years or to both fine and imprisonment4

License Suspension: In addition to fines and imprisonment, offenders may have their driver's licenses suspended or revoked for a specified period. This serves as a deterrent and ensures that individuals who pose a risk to public safety are temporarily or permanently removed from the roads.

Vehicle Impoundment: In some cases, the vehicle used in the offense may be impounded by law enforcement authorities. This further restricts the offender's ability to drive and serves as an additional deterrent.

Criminal Record: A conviction for drunk driving in Nigeria results in a criminal record, which can have long-lasting consequences. This record can affect employment prospects, travel opportunities, and personal reputation.


The best way to avoid the legal implications of driving under the influence is to never do it in the first place. Here are some proactive measures to ensure a safe and legal driving experience:

Designate a Driver: If you plan to consume alcohol or drugs, designate a sober driver to take you home.

Use Public Transportation: Utilize public transportation services or ride-sharing apps to avoid driving under the influence.

Call a Cab or Friend: If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot drive, call a cab or ask a friend for a ride.

Never Drive Impaired: Remember, there is no safe amount of alcohol or drugs when it comes to driving.


Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense in Nigeria, with severe legal consequences. The strict legal regime surrounding drunk driving aims to protect public safety by deterring individuals from engaging in this dangerous behavior. It is essential for all motorists to understand and respect these laws to ensure the safety of themselves and others on the road. By promoting responsible alcohol consumption and raising awareness about the consequences of drunk driving, we can work towards a safer and more responsible driving culture in Nigeria.

To combat the issue of drunk driving, public awareness campaigns and educational initiatives are crucial. These efforts aim to educate the public about the dangers of driving under the influence, promote responsible alcohol consumption, and encourage alternative transportation options such as designated drivers or ride-sharing services.


1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driving_under_the_influence

2. https://frsc.gov.ng/FRSCACT2007.pdf

3. https://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+the+legal+blood+alcohol+concentration+(BAC)+limit+for+drivers+in+Nigeria&oq=what+is+the+legal+blood+alcohol+concentration+(BA C)+limit+for+drivers+in+Nigeria&gs_lcrp=EgZjaHJvbWUyBggAEEUYOdIBCTExMDcyajBqN6gCALACAA&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

4. Section 22 of the Federal Road Safety Act 2007.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.