How Many Drinks Does it Take to Reach a .08 BAC?

alcohol awareness monthWith many states cracking down on drunk driving, people are asking more questions about exactly what constitutes drunk driving, and how many drinks it takes to be considered legally intoxicated. Blood alcohol content (BAC) is the measure of a person’s level of intoxication or the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood system. Since the body can only process alcohol at a certain rate, the more drinks a person consumes results in a higher concentration of alcohol remaining in the blood. The legal limit in the United States is .08 BAC. But how many drinks does it take to reach a .08 BAC?

The amount of alcohol a body can process depends on the type of drink, a person’s weight, and the serving size of the drink being consumed. One drink is considered to be one 12 fl. oz. beer, one 5 fl. oz. glass of wine, or one 1.5 fl. oz. shot of liquor. The general rule of thumb is it takes about three drinks an hour for a woman to reach a .08 BAC and it takes about four drinks an hour for men, but, these are general guidelines based upon the weight of the person drinking.

• For a person who weighs 100 lbs., it will take about three drinks an hour to reach a .08 BAC.
• At 140 lbs., it takes about four drinks an hour to reach a .08 BAC.
• At 180 lbs it takes about five drinks an hour to reach a .08 BAC.
• At about 220 lbs it takes around six drinks an hour to reach a .08 BAC.

Having some idea of how drinks will impact one’s BAC can help everyone make safer choices when it comes to drinking and driving. Many people who drink find that they have increased confidence but decreased decision making abilities after a night of drinking. This, unfortunately, can lead to intoxicated drivers getting behind the wheel of a car and putting innocent lives at risk. By maintaining sobriety or having a safe ride home after a night of drinking, we all are assured of our own safety on the roads.