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BAC information

BUT I JUST HAD A COUPLE OF DRINKS!

A U.S. "standard" drink contains about 0.6 fluid ounces or 14 grams of "pure" alcohol. That's the amount in 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of table wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. But when you start mixing cocktails, use larger glasses for wine and beer, or drink malt liquor that standard drink can be can become one 1+ to 2 drink for each glass. The following website lets you calculate alcohol content, how many standard drinks are in a mixed drink, the different types of beer and those “half pints”. Don’t learn this after you get the DWI or are in a crash because you thought you were safe with just a “couple of drinks” http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/ToolsResources/CocktailCalculator.asp

What is BAC?

Blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is a measure of the amount of alcohol in the body. Blood alcohol is measured directly through testing blood, or indirectly through tests that use breath, urine or saliva.
Most states now consider a person intoxicated when they reach the level of .08 BAC. This means that there is .08 grams of alcohol in every liter of blood.

Many factors affect an individual's absorption of alcohol. These include weight, sex (a higher proportion of a woman's body weight is in fat and fat absorbs less alcohol than muscle tissue), amount of food in the digestive track, and time spent drinking (and the corresponding rate of elimination).

BAC levels and the number of "typical" drinks required to reach them can be roughly estimated. After 4 drinks in one hour, a male of 160 pounds will reach a BAC of .07% and a female of 120 pounds will reach a BAC of .08%. The following is a breakdown of skill set vs blood alcohol levels

BAC Level
Impairment
.03 BAC
Choice reaction time impaired
.04 BAC
Simple Reaction time
Emergency Response
05 BAC
Tracking
divided attention 
coordination 
comprehension & eye movement
.08 BAC
Concentration attention
speed control
braking
gear changing
lane tracking

What is the Risk?

The risk of being in a crash begins to rise between .04% and .05% BAC, and increases rapidly thereafter. By the time a driver reaches a BAC of .06% he or she is twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash as a non- drinking driver.

Additional alcohol increases the chance of a fatal crash even more. A driver with a BAC of .10% to .14% is about 50 times as likely to be in a fatal crash as a non-drinking driver. The rate goes up as the BAC rises.

Know your personal limit of moderation

It is important to know the many factors affect impairment, they are:

-Gender-
Because of differences in body composition and chemistry, males and females are affected differently by alcohol. Men generally have more muscles tissue and women more fatty tissue. 

-Fatty Tissue-
Fatty tissue has a smaller blood supply than muscle tissue so more of the alcohol goes into the bloodstream. The result is that when a man and woman of equal weight drink equal amounts of alcohol, the alcohol concentration level will be higher in the woman.

-Time-
The number of hours a person drinks affects BAC. The body slowly eliminates alcohol as follows: oxidation by the liver (95%), breath (2%), urine (2%), and perspiration (1%). The liver's rate of oxidation is constant and cannot be increased by drinking coffee, physical activity, or by taking cold showers. The body eliminates about one standard drink an hour.

-Strength-
The strenght of drink as mentioned above, all drinks are not created equal. A mixed drink usually has more than 1-1/2 oz of alcohol and the alcohol in different beers can vary as much as 40%.

-Age-
This factors is rarely considered in discussion of BAC, but it is important. The human body develops less tolerance to alcohol with aging. This is due to a gradual change or slowing down of the body's metabolic rate. In addition, the ratio of body fat to muscle increases with age. As a result, the same amount of alcohol intake per body weight consumed by older people (after 55) can result in higher alcohol concentration levels and the effects of alcohol last longer.
Age and drinking is a factor for young people. They become involved in fatal crashes at significantly lower BAC than adults. Their alcohol use disrupts their novice driving skill at lower BAC levels.

What is the Risk?

The risk of being in a crash begins to rise between .04% and .05% BAC, and increases rapidly thereafter. By the time a driver reaches a BAC of .06% he or she is twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash as a non- drinking driver.

Additional alcohol increases the chance of a fatal crash even more. A driver with a BAC of .10% to .14% is about 50 times as likely to be in a fatal crash as a non-drinking driver, and 380 times greater at a .15 and above

Information from the National Highway Safety Administration and Nationwide
Insurance and the Minnesota Driver's Manual

BAC Calculator

Your BAC is the amount of alcohol in your body and is measured by the weight of the alcohol in a certain volume of blood.

Alcohol is absorbed quickly through the walls of the stomach and small intestine, goes into the bloodstream, and travels throughout the body and to the brain. Within 30 to 70 minutes after a person has had a drink, his/her BAC can be measured.

A BAC Calculator can be used to provide an estimate of one's BAC. (To access a BAC Calculator, click here.) This is only an estimate to give you an idea of the alcohol concentration when you drink. Remember there is no SAFE amount of alcohol in your system if you are going to drive