How many drinks does it take to get to .08 BAC?
How many drinks does it take to get to .08 BAC? This question essentially asks, “How much can I drink before it is illegal for me drive?” This approach to drinking and driving is as dangerous as it gets.
Even one or two drinks can land a driver in jail for driving while intoxicated but that’s not the full story.
By taking a look at what blood alcohol content really is and how impairment affects drivers, we can keep ourselves and Texas roads safe. It starts with recognizing that drinking influences us all differently and no amount of alcohol behind the wheel is safe.
What is BAC?
BAC stands for blood alcohol content. It describes the percentage of a person’s blood that is made up of alcohol. When the alcohol enters the bloodstream through the gastrointestinal tract. This then travels to the brain which is wear the feeling and symptoms of impairment can be dramatically felt.
While drinking is not the only way to get a DWI, it is the most common and the easiest to test by law enforcement on the spot. To put it simply: It holds up in court. Blood alcohol content is a way to determine if a person is intoxicated.
What is Intoxication?
When a person is intoxicated, they lose the use of their mental and physical faculties. Those are the standards for intoxication both medically and legally. Alcohol is a depressant and has inhibitory effects. This means that consuming it literally inhibits one’s ability to function in every way.
There are many ways to determine if a driver is intoxicated. The most effective was is to see how a person is behaving. To quantify intoxication, law enforcement uses a Breathalyzer to approximately measure a person’s BAC.
The substance disrupts neural communication. Essentially, the nervous system is depressed. This slows down the communication in the brain. Long term or habitual drinking reduces grey and white matter in the brain. This makes for poor learning and memory over time.
How Many Drinks?
The rough estimate is 2 drinks, but the answer is not that simple. How quickly one’s blood alcohol goes up and how high it goes are influenced by body weight, sex, and time between drinks. These variables make it difficult to be certain where your own BAC percentage is.
The Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission released the amount of drinks that a male and a female can drink before it is unsafe to drive.
What are the Consequences?
Most states set their legal limit for the amount of alcohol in the blood as .08%. In Texas, if a driver’s blood is .08% alcohol, they will be convicted of a DWI which will stay on their record for the rest of their life and could result in fines, jail time, or prison.
These consequences apply to drivers that are of legal drinking age (21 or older). If a driver is under legal drinking age, they are charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) if they have any amount of alcohol in their system. You can read more about the legal difference between the two here.