Do you know what the legal BACL (blood-alcohol content level) is for driving while intoxicated? It is .08. Not to be confused with .08 cents (which is 50 cent’s younger brother). I was thinking, if Lincoln was a rapper (just go with me here), what would his rapper name have been? Five cent? Maybe Weird Beard or Jebediah? If I were a gansta rapper, my stage name would be Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen (now that I’m older and creaky).
It is illegal to drive at a .08 BAC or higher in all 50 states. That means .08 milliliters of alcohol to 100 milliliters of blood. It is unclear to most people how many drinks it takes to get you to.08 because that varies greatly depending on many factors. Such as your gender, your weight and height, your age, your metabolism, what kind of physical condition you’re in, how much time passes between drinks, and how much you’ve eaten. If you’re on medication (prescribed or non-prescribed) adds to the factor as well. So, basically everyone is different. You can’t put everyone into the same category. Some people also don’t filter alcohol through their liver like most or may have a smaller liver than most. Sometimes it’s just genetic.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), a .08 is roughly equivalent to 4 drinks for a 180 pound male. For a 140 pound female, only 2 drinks could put her at a .07. 3 drinks would raise her blood-alcohol to .10. While blood-alcohol levels do decrease over time, it’s typically by only about .015 an hour. So a person who is at a .08 would likely need 6 hours to completely sober up.
One drink is defined as a 12 oz. beer, a 5 oz. glass of wine, or a 1 to 1.5 oz shot glass of 80-proof liquor. A 12 oz. beer would mean an average size bottle of clear, domestic beer. Not a dark beer, stout, IPA, etc. Many imported beers are stronger in alcohol content. That’s why the English drive on the wrong side of the road. Some wines are stronger than others as well. Read the label’s alcohol content. And liquor would not include something like Bacardi 151 (which is 151 proof), or Everclear Grain Alcohol, which is 190 proof (yikes!).
But even if a driver is below a .08, studies show driving skills are significantly impaired at a .04 level (which is the current legal limit for anyone with a CDL (Commercial Driver License). That would be just 2 drinks for the average male, and 1.5 drinks for the average female. It’s also important to remember drivers can be arrested for a DUI, even if they test below a .08.
So, this holiday season (and always), just don’t drink and drive. If you think about it, taking a cab or Uber or Lyft at $25-$55 would be a lot less expensive than fines, attorney fees, jail time, etc.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
The Legal BACL – Comedy Defensive Driving