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What is Blood Alcohol Concentration?
BAC: What is it?

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.

Blood alcohol concentration or BAC is the percentage of alcohol present in an individual’s bloodstream.  An individual’s BAC is determined by gender, weight, quantity, type of drink, and length of time from the first drink.  It is not a secret, alcohol decreases a person’s ability to safely drive and signs of impairment are different for everyone.  It illegal to drive impaired in every state with a BAC of .08 or higher; however, a driver can be arrested with a lower BAC based on probable cause.  It is safe to say, if you plan on drinking, plan on having a sober driver.

The following chart was adapted from “The ABCs of BAC” and contains common behaviors at various BAC percentages and possible driving impairments.

Blood Alcohol Concentration(BAC)Typical EffectsPredictable Effects on Driving
0.02* Some loss of judgment
* Relaxation
* Slight Body Warmth* Altered Mood
*Decline in visual functions*Decline in divided attention
0.05*Exaggerated behavior*Loss of small-muscle control i.e. focusing eyes
*Impaired judgment
*Usually good feeling
*Decreased alertness
*Release of inhibition
*Reduced coordination
*Reduced ability to track moving objects
*Difficulty steering
*Reduced response to emergency driving situations
0.08*Decrease muscle coordination I.e. poor balance, speech, & reaction time
*Impaired judgment, self-control, reasoning, and memory
*Concentration*Short-term memory loss*Speed control*Reduced information processing*Impaired perception
0.10*Slurred speech, poor coordination, slowed thinking
*Deterioration of reaction time and control
*Reduced ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately
0.15* Decreased muscle control
* Vomiting may occur
* Significant loss of balance
*Substantial impairment in vehicle control, attention to driving, and any unnecessary visual or auditory information processing.

 Information in this table shows the BAC level at which the effect usually is first observed, and has been gathered from a variety of sources including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the American Medical Association, and www.webMD.com.

Table of ABCs of BAC adapted from “A Guide to Understanding Blood Alcohol Concentration and Alcohol Impairment. Retrieved 11/1/2020, from  https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/809844-theabcsofbac.pdf. Copyright 2016.

Driving while impaired is illegal.  If you or someone you know has been involved or injured as a result of a drunk driver, contact The Law Offices of Reginald Keith Davis for your free consultation.  He is skilled, experienced, and ready to get you the compensation you deserve.  

Phone: (913) 299-8789

About the Author

Reginald Davis
Reginald Davis
author

Reginald Davis is a licensed lawyer in Kansas & Missouri.

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