The Barnes Firm

BAC: How Many Beverages it Takes

As personal injury lawyers, we see the dangerous and sometimes deadly effects of drunk driving. The guilty party often tells their friends, family and even the police that they are okay to drive… but they usually aren’t.

Not only do they risk being taken to jail; drunk drivers also risk the lives of innocent people whom they share the road with. A car accident attorney at The Barnes Firm represents those innocent lives that have drastically changed because they’ve been injured by drunk driver.

“Police reports often detail how a driver is in disbelief or denial about their level of impairment after they cause a crash,” car accident lawyer Landon Vivian said. “The same driver is often drunker than they think they are.”

The measurement of choice is called the blood-alcohol level; and no matter how ‘sober’ a person feels, the BAC consistently impacts that person’s ability to drive.

Reflexes and judgment can be impaired after just a couple drinks and the more a person drinks, the harder it is to do a self-diagnostic to determine their level of drunkenness.

In 2000, Congress made 0.08 the national standard for impaired driving. But what does that really mean? Your BAC is determined by multiple factors including height, weight and the amount of alcoholic beverages you’ve consumed. Although it differs from person-to-person, many safety advocates say 0.08 is still high.

According to the CDC (chart above), a BAC of 0.08 generally equals about four drinks but most people will start experiencing major side effects after just two drinks.

In fact, many other countries have stricter standards than the United States. In places like Australia, France, Germany, and Italy, the BAC limit for drivers is set at 0.05. Japan currently has the lowest tolerance for drunk drivers, keeping them in check at 0.03.

The reason other countries have a lower tolerance is clear: drunk drivers continue to cause preventable traffic deaths.

“It doesn’t take that many drinks to slow your reaction time and distort your judgment, which can make you a dangerous driver,” Vivian said. “Although it doesn’t seem like much, ‘one more drink’ could be the difference between getting home safely or going to jail.”

After about three alcoholic beverages, a person’s BAC is approximately 0.05 percent. At that level, they can experience decreased coordination and that person begins to lose their focus and alertness. Add just one drink to the mix (0.08) and the same person has difficulty identifying road hazards. Their balance, vision and reaction time are severely hampered. Their risk of causing a car crash rises exponentially every time they have another drink.

If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, the car accident lawyers at The Barnes Firm have experience helping victims like yourself. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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