Keep Your Drinking Under Control and Be Aware of Your BAC
Drinking and driving can put you, as well as innocent others, at risk. Your chances of getting into an accident increase when you consume alcohol and decide to get behind the wheel. It is important to monitor your blood alcohol content, or BAC, before driving a car after drinking.
BAC is the concentration of alcohol in your blood stream, and is measured in mass per volume. Basically, BAC determines the percentage of alcohol in your bloodstream. The more alcohol you consume, the higher your BAC. Each alcoholic beverage has a different percentage of alcohol; beer contains about 5% alcohol, wine contains about 7% alcohol, and liquor contains anywhere between 20-40% alcohol. Of course, it depends on the proof, or alcohol content, as well as the size of the beverage you are drinking.
Law enforcement utilizes special tools to measure BAC, including field sobriety tests and breathalyzers. If you are pulled over and presumed to be under the influence, an officer will start with field sobriety tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has authorized three standard sobriety tests, including the horizontal gaze nystagmus, one-leg stand, and walk-and-turn tests. These tests were designed to visibly determine if a person is sober of not, but have long been debated as to their accuracy, as these tests are open to the interpretation of the officer administrating them.
If you cannot fulfill the requirements of these tests, an officer will read you your rights and conduct chemical testing. When you are issued a driver’s license, you are consenting to comply with this chemical testing. The test can also be a breath test, administered by a breathalyzer, which uses a chemical reaction to determine BAC.
New technology has been developed which provides a more accurate reading of blood alcohol content. The Datamaster is an electronic device that uses absorption of infrared energy to properly quantify the level of ethanol in the breath, lessening the chances of an improper reading. These advanced machines print out a ticket with a reading of your blood alcohol content.
If you do not comply with any type of BAC testing, you can be criminally charged resulting in your license being revoked or suspended.
If you plan on drinking, it is important to monitor the amount of alcohol you are consuming, as well as the rate at which it is being consumed. There are resources available that allow you to estimate your blood alcohol content, like this Blood Alcohol Calculator. The calculator will prompt you as to how many alcoholic beverages you had as well as the type (beer, wine, or shots), as well as the state you are located in, your gender, weight, and the amount of time you have been drinking (hours and minutes).
Below are some tips to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable time.
- Never accept drinks from strangers. You never know what the drink could contain.
- Pace yourself when you’re drinking, and give yourself plenty of time between beverages. Avoid participating in games that require “chugging” beverages.
- Eat something prior to drinking. Foods that are high in fats and proteins help to slow your body’s absorption of alcohol.
- Remain active throughout your time drinking. You’ll be able to monitor your level of intoxication better if you are standing as opposed to sitting down.
- Alternate between alcoholic beverages and non-alcoholic beverages.
Remember -if you drink, do not drive, designate a driver ahead of time who will not be ingesting any alcohol. If you or someone you know has been injured because of a drunk driver, contact us today. A committed, experienced personal injury lawyer will discuss your case with you during a free consultation.