Have you ever wondered just how drunk you actually were? After a few drinks with friends, or at a party, many people wonder if they’re “just tipsy” or actually drunk, particularly when it comes to the ability to operate a vehicle safely. Blood alcohol content (BAC) is the standard for measuring the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream through various methods, like a breathalyzer test or a blood test. Because the body can only process alcohol so quickly, the more drinks you have the higher your BAC level will be. The higher a BAC level, the more likely you are to be involved in bad situations that result from poor judgment, including drunk driving.
.02 BAC: The body gets warm and relaxed and vision is affected slightly. Judgment is altered, as is the ability to multi-task.
.05 BAC: Inhibitions are lowered and coordination and alertness are also affected. Reaction times are delayed and your eyes are slow to track moving objects.
.08 BAC: The legal limit that defines intoxication. .08 BAC delineates significant problems with coordination, speech, hearing, and vision. Reaction time is significantly altered and driving becomes truly dangerous.
.10 BAC: Speech is slurred and the ability to think and move appropriately has almost completely deteriorated.
.15 BAC: Many states impose harsh penalties for those convicted of driving at this “hardcore” level. At this point the person may be vomiting. It may even be hard for this person to walk or sit.
.25 BAC: Health consequences are very real. A person may black out and lose consciousness. Alcohol poisoning and death can be the harsh realities of this BAC level.
While these levels are considered guidelines in the court system, no BAC level is exact when it comes to determining the dangerous behaviors alcohol can encourage. Even at .02 BAC, within the limits of the law, a person can be convicted of a drunk driving offense, particularly with any aggravating circumstances surrounding the arrest. Drinking alcohol is a responsibility, and remaining well below the .08 BAC level ensures the safety of everyone on the road.