Understanding Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

24 Apr 2020

Everyone knows driving under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous, but not everyone fully understands what that looks like in terms of percentages and blood alcohol content levels.

Blood alcohol concentration levels represent the percent of a person’s blood that is concentrated with alcohol. For instance, .10 would mean that .1% of your bloodstream is composed of alcohol. Here is a breakdown of BAC levels:

  • .020 — Light drinkers to moderate drinkers usually begin to feel some effects.
  • .060 — Most people begin to feel relaxed and their judgment is somewhat impaired.
  • .080 — Legal intoxication level in most states. Definite impairment of muscle coordination and driving skills.
  • .100 — Clear deterioration of reaction time and control, legally drunk in all states. (Vomiting usually occurs at about .120.)
  • .200 — Balance and movement significantly impaired, most people begin to experience blackouts at this level.
  • .300 — Many people begin to lose consciousness at this stage.
  • .400 — Most people lose consciousness and some can die. Once .450 is reached, breathing essentially stops and this is a fatal level for most people.

Having a drink or two is fine — but you should never get behind the wheel afterward. Don’t try and predict what your BAC level is, either. If you’ve been drinking, either call for a ride, walk, or stay in place. Do not get behind the wheel — ever.

Ignition Interlock Devices

Ignition interlock devices prohibit a vehicle’s engine from starting if its alcohol sensing device registers above a pre-set level, which is typically around 0.02 BAC. There are already about 150,000 interlock systems and counting now in cars in the U.S., placed there for drivers with multiple DUI convictions. In the future, these devices might be in all vehicles — which would certainly help prevent drunk driving accidents. If interlocks become mandatory equipment in all cars, they would likely be set far below the legal limit of 0.08 — most likely between 0.03 and 0.04.

If you want to learn more about BAC, ignition interlock devices, or the importance of never getting behind the wheel after drinking, give QuickStart Ignition InterLock a call right away! Drive safe out there — always!

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