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What Is BAC And How Does It Affect Your Body When Driving

What Is BAC And How Does It Affect Your Body When Driving
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Alcohol has become somewhat of a staple when it comes to social gatherings. Some who’ve had a few drinks and may have to go home still want to drive their car and claim they “can” do it, and unfortunately, a lot of those people end up in car crashes, often with high blood alcohol concentration (BAC). In fact, 2015 alone saw 10,265 people dying in driving crashes that involve being alcohol-impaired with the entire number accounting for 29-percent of all road crash fatalities in the United States at the time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 1.1-million drivers were arrested in 2015 because they were found to be arrested for driving under the influence, be it involving narcotics or alcohol. However, to the skeptical, why is the law so strict about drunk drivers? Aside from the inherent risk of driving while drunk, it’s actually the presence of alcohol itself that can contribute to dangerous encounters on the road.

What Is BAC?

According to Stanford University’s Office of Alcohol Policy and Education, a lot of alcohol-impaired accidents have something to do with something called blood alcohol concentration (BAC). This is the amount of alcohol in percentage inside a person’s bloodstream. Having a .10-percent BAC means your blood supply has one (1) part of alcohol for every 1,000 parts of your blood. In some states, having .08-percent BAC is already illegal.

Effects of BAC on the Body

Your level of BAC depends on how these elements interact, but their effects remain largely similar across different BAC levels. These effects are what actually make drunk driving so dangerous as high BAC actually has a lot of repercussions in store for you. These effects, when coupled with driving, have a lot of potentially disastrous consequences.

  • BAC Level: .01 to .03 has no apparent effects on the body and mind, except perhaps an elevation of mood. In some states like California, this is enough to merit anyone under 21 as legally impaired. For everyone else in the state, you can’t ride a bike legally with this BAC level.
  • BAC Level: .04 to .06 has the effects of relaxation to your body alongside a warm sensation while drinking. Memory and reasoning will start to have minor impairments.
  • BAC Level: .07 to .09 will start the manifestations of drunkenness. There will be mild impairment in terms of control, vision, speech, and especially balance. If you’re in some states like California, a BAC level of .08 is enough to be considered legally impaired if you’re older than 21. This also means it’s illegal to both rides a bike and drive a car with this BAC.
  • BAC Level .10 to .12 will have you experience significant impairment of judgment and motor coordination.
  • BAC Level .13 to .15 will have you experience severe impairment of your motor functions. You will have a major loss of balance as well as blurry vision. You will also start to show signs of dysphoria or restlessness and anxiety.
  • BAC Level .16 to .20 will have dysphoria dominate the system alongside symptoms of nausea. If you’ve seen someone as “sloppy drunk,” then this is the BAC where they’re at.
  • BAC Level .25 to. 30 counts as severe intoxication to the point where they may need help walking. They may start vomiting and experience nausea.
  • BAC Level .35 to .40 will have them experience loss of consciousness and may even be comatose.
  • BAC Level .40 above will likely make anyone comatose, and perhaps even cause death because of respiratory failure.


If there’s anything the above provides, it’s that while alcohol can be a fun addition to a social event, careful consumption and management can help someone attempt to drive while drunk and risk being in an accident. If you’re in need of legal assistance on the matter.

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