Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Levels
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)- why is "BAC" important? BAC "levels" are what law enforcement uses to determine - usually based on a breath test - whether or not you are "DUI" (driving under the influence), i.e., a "drunk" driver.
See also: Drunk Driving Laws by State CHART
Testing for BAC levels is also done today by many employers to determine if you should be relieved from the job for a day (i.e., to sleep it off) or be immediately fired for being impaired while performing your job. Usually, the BAC levels an employer uses for those determinations are 0.020% to 0.029% (you're relieved from duty for 24 hours) and at 0.040 or higher you will be fired. Companies and other organizations that have what is termed a "zero tolerance" policy about alcohol-use or alcohol-impairment while on the job will terminate your employment if you test at a BAC level of as little as 0.001%.
BAC level of an individual at a given moment can be determined by analyzing a sample of their blood or a sample of their breath from that moment. If you are given a "breath alcohol" test (often called a "breathalyzer" test), it is actually your blood that is being tested for its BAC level.
Yes, that's correct: Even though it's a "breath" test, the Breath Alcohol Concentration (called "BrAC") reading that results from your test will scientifically relate directly to the concentration of alcohol (BAC) in your blood at the time that your breath is tested. So, if you are tested and found to have a BrAC (Breath Alcohol Concentration) of 0.020% and they were to draw a sample of your blood at the very same time of your breath-test and analyze it, your BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) would also be at a level of 0.02%. Now, you may think that sounds implausible, but trust us, the BrAC and BAC relationship IS scientifically proven to be accurate and has been court-tested all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. So, if you are going to "gamble" with having alcohol in your system either while on the job or while driving, be prepared to pay the penalties associated with your actions, since you will have little if any legal recourse!
The BAC chart below is only intended only as a general guide. Actual "Blood Alcohol Concentration" (BAC) values will vary by body build, sex, and current health status.
Note in reading the BAC chart below, that fatigue and other "stress factors" can temporarily lower a person's tolerance level to alcohol. In other words, you'll likely have deteriorated mental and physical functions "sooner" (and/or with less alcohol consumed) when you are stressed-out than you would when you have that same amount of alcohol in your system but are "feeling great". Therefore, when you are particularly tired or "mentally drained", either do not drink at all or... drink less. In any case, if you go somewhere, have a non-drinking "designated driver" get you there and back!
BAC LEVELS EXPECTED, BASED ON THE NUMBER OF DRINKS CONSUMED IN A ONE-HOUR PERIOD
Remember- your sex, health, state of mind make all these BAC expectations a bit variable.
For the purposes of this chart, “One Drink” = 12 oz. Beer or 4 oz. Wine or 1 1/4 oz. 80-Proof Liquor.
If you prefer 18 oz. cans of beer or 90-Proof Liquor, you need a different chart!
|BAC of .01% to .05%|
NOTE THAT FOR MANY PEOPLE, ONLY “ONE” DRINK WILL TAKE THEM TO THIS LEVEL OF DECREASED COORDINATION.
|Some loss of judgement and coordination.|
Thinking is dulled, changes in mood and behaviour. A BAC of 0.02% at many U.S. companies will require that an employee be relieved of duty for 24 hours and at 0.04 they will be fired. In an organization with a "zero-tolerance" policy as regards alcohol use, you will be fired if you test at 0.001% BAC
|BAC of .05% to .08%|
EVERYONE HAS REACHED THIS BAC POINT AFTER JUST THEIR 1ST OR 2ND DRINK.
|Functioning ability definitely impaired.|
Walking, speech, and hand movements clumsy. Blurred, split, or tunnel vision may occur. Judgment and equipment operating ability impaired. Chance of accident is greatly increased by up to 300% or more.
|BAC of .08% and over|
NOTE THAT SOME PEOPLE REACH THIS BAC POINT BY THEIR 2ND DRINK AND ALL HAVE BY THEIR 3RD OR 4TH.
|Functioning and judgement very seriously affected.|
Responses greatly slowed. Behavior greatly affected. Very high risk of accident. In ALL 50 U.S. States, with a BAC of .08% or higher, you will be arrested if driving a car. In Utah, the BAC that will get you arrested is even lower: only 0.05%!