KIDS/TEENS 2017-03-07T15:00:11+00:00

Drinking and Driving Facts and Education

What is BAC?

BAC stands for Blood Alcohol Content. This is the amount of alcohol in a person’s body measured by the weight of alcohol in a certain volume of blood. There is no difference in how a drink affects your BAC. A drink is a drink. A shot of distilled spirits, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a 12-ounce beer will have the same effect on your BAC..

What affects my BAC?

  • The number of drinks – The more you drink, the higher your BAC

  • How fast you drink – The faster you consume alcohol the quicker your BAC will rise

  • Your Gender – Women generally have less water and more body fat per pound of body weight than men. Alcohol does not absorb into fat cells as easily as other cells, so more alcohol remains in the blood of women.

  • Your Weight – The more you weigh, the more water is present in your body. This water dilutes the alcohol and lowers the BAC

  • Food in your Stomach – Absorption of alcohol will be slowed if you’ve had something to eat

What about medications or drugs?

Medications or drugs will not change your BAC. However, if you drink alcohol while taking certain medications or drugs, you may feel and/or be more impaired which can affect your ability to perform driving-related tasks.

BAC Levels and their affects

BAC Typical Effects Predictable Effects on Driving
.02
  • Some loss of judgement
  • Relaxation
  • Slight body warmth
  • Altered mood
  • Decline in visual functions
  • Decline in ability to perform two tasks at the same time
.05
  • Exaggerated behavior
  • May have loss of small-muscle control
  • Impaired judgement
  • Usually good feeling
  • Lowered alertness
  • Release of inhibition
  • Reduced coordination
  • Reduced ability to track moving objects
  • Difficulty steering
  • Reduced response to emergency driving situations
.08
  • Muscle Coordination becomes poor
  • Harder to detect danger
  • Impaired judgement, self control, reasoning, and memory
  • Concentration
  • Short-term Memory Loss
  • Speed control
  • Reduced information processing capability
  • Impaired perception
.10
  • Clear deterioration of reaction time and control
  • Slurred speech, poor coordination, and slowed thinking
  • Reduced ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately
.15
  • Far Less muscle control than normal
  • Vomiting may occur
  • Significant loss of balance
  • Substantial impairment in vehicle control, attention to driving task, and in necessary visual and auditory information processing

What can I do to stay safe when I plan on drinking?

  • Plan a safe way home in advance and never drive after drinking

  • Designate a sober driver

  • Use a taxi, call a friend or family member or use public transportation

  • Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app for FREE on the iTunes or Google Play, to easily call a taxi or a friend for a ride home. The app can also help you identify your location, if needed.

  • Always wear your seat belt. It’s your best defense against impaired drivers.