BAC stands for blood alcohol content--and it can be lethal. Compounding the problem is the fact blood alcohol level death is not an exact thing. It can happen at any point after response times become impaired.
It only takes .08% blood alcohol content (BAC) to be over the legal limit. That can be as little as one cocktail from a generous bartender or an end-of-day IPA beer for some people. For a 180-pound man, it only takes three normal drinks.
Not to mention a weekend warrior’s binge can have a horrible impact on your financial wellbeing. The cost of a DUI can run over $10,000. And that doesn’t account for expenses related to getting in an at-fault accident.
Here’s a small sampling of state DUI laws that show how serious the offense is:
Texas - Even if it’s your first DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) offense, you’ll have consequences to pay in Texas. You could face up to a year in jail and will pay at least $2,000 in fines.
Arizona - Arizona is well-known for it’s tough DUI laws. First-time offenders will spend a minimum of 10 days in jail, and an ignition interlock device is mandatory. Alcohol-abuse assessment and/or treatment is also required if you’re convicted. But your license will be suspended for up to 90 days even if you’re only arrested for a suspected DUI.
Ohio - If you are convicted of a DUI in Ohio you could lose your drivers license and driving privileges for as long as three years.
What Blood Alcohol Level Causes Death?
Most people think that having a few drinks is no big deal, and most of the time it is. But going too far with alcohol consumption can have serious consequences.
.40 BAC and above significantly increases the risk of alcohol poisoning.
As early as .20 BAC your gag reflexes begin to fail and choking on vomit is a serious risk. A 120-pound woman can reach this level with just five drinks.
Each drink adds up. Keeping it to a maximum of 2-4 drinks (depending on sex and weight) is the only way to prevent alcohol poisoning. And of course, always have a designated driver even if you only plan to have a few drinks.
Total Misconceptions About Blood Alcohol Level
There have been a lot of drunken myths and misconceptions that have been told so many times over the years people just take them as fact. But the truth is they are pure fiction.
The real facts about blood alcohol level are:
A full stomach may slow the absorption of alcohol, but it doesn’t mean that alcohol cannot creep up on you.
Coffee will not make you sober. Only time will.
Carbonated beverages have been found to cause quicker alcohol absorption.
Stress can cause alcohol to enter your bloodstream faster.
Women get drunk quicker than men, even at the same body weight.
Blood alcohol level death is only one of many consequences that can come from drinking and driving. If you’re interested in learning more check out these US Drunk Driver Stats.
Blood Alcohol Level - Effects and Consequences for 0.02-0.19 BAC
Years of research and many unfortunate accidents have helped doctors identify average levels of risk for various BAC levels. If you decide to take a drink you need to know the BAC info below.
0.02-0.03 BAC: Feeling good. A little less inhibited, relaxed and slightly euphoric. This low level may make an inexperienced drinker feel lightheaded. Blood alcohol content is low.
0.04-0.06 BAC: Under 21, you're at DUI level. You feel warm, more deeply relaxed, euphoric, more extroverted and there’s an elevation in your sense of well-being. At the same time, your emotions and behavior are becoming more exaggerated. Caution begins to slip at this BAC level.
0.07-0.09 BAC: DUI level for drivers 21 and older. The first sense to go is hearing (which is why drunk people are loud). At this level, you are beginning to be slightly impaired, and euphoria is high. Balance, vision, hearing and speech are all affected. Reason, memory and self-control are negatively impacted as well. Reaction time slows, yet most people believe they are fine at this level.
0.10-0.125 BAC: Say goodbye to good judgment, graceful coordination and clear speech. Slurring may be evident and balance is compromised. You’re also more likely to spill your secrets and express inner feelings. And people at this level seem energetic.
0.13-0.15 BAC: Things aren't fun anymore. You are losing physical control and motor skills are becoming severely unskilled. This is the point where most people are stumbling and vision is blurry. The euphoria that made things fun is giving way to anxiety and restlessness. Perception and judgment are strongly impaired.
0.16-0.19 BAC: Sloppy drunk. This is where that moniker is indisputable. You don’t feel well, emotionally or physically. Nausea can occur.
.20 BAC - Blood Alcohol Level Death Risk Increases
0.20 BAC: Emotional turmoil, confusion, blackouts and vomit death are possible. At .20 BAC, your gag reflexes are impaired. (Do not let drunk people fall asleep, especially on their back.) Anger, sadness and big rides on an emotional roller coaster usually accompany the vomiting.
This is the definition of dazed and confused. Help with simple things like standing, walking and holding objects may be necessary. If you stumble and fall, you may not feel pain until the next day.
0.25 BAC: Bruises at best. Your body is pretty much not your own anymore. In addition to blackouts, risk of choking on your own vomit is increased. Falls and accidents are also more likely.
0.30 BAC: Total drunken stupor. It’s no longer just passing out. You are lapsing in and out of consciousness. Suddenly passing out and being unresponsive (unable to be awoken) is seriously possible. You will be entirely disoriented with little understanding of where you are. This is not yet certain blood alcohol level death, but it may be necessary to get someone to a hospital. Bladder function can fail. So can heart rate.
0.35 BAC: Reasonable coma risk. Being this drunk is like being under surgical anesthetic. And since surgery is a risk, imagine the risk of blood alcohol level death.
0.40+ BAC: Possible death. Your heart could stop. You may stop breathing. This is a coma level drunk. Blood alcohol level death is almost guaranteed.
As you can see, alcohol consumption isn’t all fun and revelry. It can easily get out of hand and lead to hospitalization or worse. If you’re going to indulge the safest bet is to take it slow and limit the number of drinks you have to 2-3 at most.
Wanna know the toughest DUI laws in the United States?
*This article was updated on 6/29/2020