Drinking and driving is a major problem in the US that causes many accidents, injuries, deaths, arrests, and other problems. The drinking and driving blood alcohol level (also called blood alcohol content, or BAC) measures the amount of alcohol intoxication for legal purposes. It is the amount of alcohol present in your bloodstream. If you are drinking and driving and your blood alcohol level is above the legal limit, you can be charged with driving under the influence, or DUI.
Drinking and Driving Blood Alcohol Level
The legal limit for the drinking and driving blood alcohol level is 0.08%. If your blood alcohol level is above that and you are driving poorly, you are likely to be pulled over and charged with DUI. Even if your BAC is below .08%, you can still be charged with DUI if your driving is impaired in any way. You can be charged with DUI even if there was no accident and even if you were driving safely and legally. The penalties and costs of a DUI can be severe, so you should always avoid drinking and driving.
When you drink alcohol, your blood alcohol level will rise rapidly. Remember that the test for drinking and driving blood alcohol level is only based on the amount of alcohol in your system. Even if you feel you can handle alcohol better compared to most people, you should not drink and drive. Here are a few things to consider about the drinking and driving blood alcohol level:
- How alcohol affects your driving
- How the affects of alcohol are different for everyone
- How alcohol is absorbed in your body
- How alcohol leaves your body
How Does Alcohol Affect Your Driving?
Alcohol makes your driving ability worse because the alcohol enters your bloodstream and reaches your brain. Drinking and driving increases the risk of car accidents, highway injuries, and vehicular deaths. Even with these known risks, drinking and driving remains a serious problem that tragically effects many victims. Driving while drunk will make your driving skills worse because you will experience:
- Bad vision
- Bad hearing
- Bad judgment
- Delayed reaction time
- Lack of self-control
Is a Blood Alcohol Level of 0.08% the Same for Everyone?
The symptoms of having a blood alcohol level of 0.08% are not the same for everyone. If you are a regular drinker, you may not feel the effect of alcohol at all even if your BAC reaches 0.08%. On the other hand, if you don’t drink alcohol very much, you may be noticeably impaired with a blood alcohol level as low as 0.02%. The point when you feel any type of impairment would really depend on your lifestyle and drinking habits. However, even if you suffer only a slight impairment with a BAC of 0.08% or lower, you can still been charged with a DUI for drinking and driving.
Your level of impairment is also different from others at certain blood alcohol levels because of differences in your body type and your genetics. Some people just naturally become more impaired from drinking than others. But no matter how you react to having alcohol in your system, drinking and driving should never be something that you choose to do.
How is Alcohol Absorbed In the Bloodstream?
The rate at which alcohol gets absorbed into your system depends on many factors. On average, if you have one drink you can expect:
- 60% of the alcohol you consumed to be absorbed into your bloodstream in half an hour
- 90% of the alcohol you consumed to be absorbed into your bloodstream in an hour
- All of the alcohol you consumed to be absorbed into your bloodstream in an hour and a half
Remember that these numbers are just averages and it can vary for different individuals. There are many factors that can change this rate. For instance, the amount of food in your stomach, the quantity of alcohol you drink, the concentration of alcohol in your drink, and how fast you drink the alcohol can all change your rate of alcohol absorption.
If you are drinking on an empty stomach, you will feel the effects of alcohol faster. This happens because the alcohol enters the bloodstream and is absorbed much more quickly. Having food in your stomach slows down the rate of alcohol absorption and your blood alcohol level will not rise as fast.
How Does Alcohol Leave the Body?
Alcohol will leave your body through metabolism and excretion. Metabolism will remove the majority of the alcohol in your system through your liver. Your liver will process the alcohol and convert it to water and carbon dioxide. You will exhale out the carbon dioxide when you breathe. The rest of the alcohol that does not leave your body though metabolism will leave through excretion in the form sweat and urine. This gas in your breath is what a breathalyzer test will measure to determine your blood alcohol level.
The way your liver functions will determined how fast your body will metabolize the alcohol. Your liver is the main site for alcohol metabolism. This is why, if you are constantly consuming alcohol, you can expect to have liver problems in the future.
Drinking alcohol will increase your blood alcohol level and cause impairment, which is why drinking and driving is so dangerous. When you drink, your blood alcohol level rises rapidly as alcohol enters the bloodstream. However, different people feel the effects of a blood alcohol level in different ways. The legal limit for drinking and driving blood alcohol level is 0.08%. Next time you drink, remember that you can be charged with a DUI if you are driving with a BAC above the legal limit of 0.08%, or even if your blood alcohol level is lower and your driving seems impaired. If you have recently been arrested for DUI, talk to a DUI lawyer about your blood alcohol level at the time of your arrest and and find out how to deal with your drinking and driving case in court.