BAC is the percentage of alcohol (ethyl alcohol or ethanol) in the bloodstream.
The amount of alcohol in the blood varies widely due to several factors, including:
- The amount of alcohol
- The rate at which it is drunk (quickly, slowly, or gradually)
- The quantity of food eaten before drinking
- Age and weight of the person
What is BAC?
Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a measure of alcohol content present in the bloodstream. It is expressed in a percentage calculated by a ratio of ethyl alcohol per 100 mL of blood. For example, a BAC of 0.04 percent means 0.04 grams of alcohol for every 100 mL of blood.
The legal alcohol limit at a BAC of 0.08 helps discourage and prevent alcohol-impaired driving and reduces deaths, injuries, and property damage.
The BAC differs significantly between men and women. Women tend to have higher BAC than men of the same age and weight. Men can metabolize alcohol faster because their stomach and liver produce highly active forms of an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase.
How do you calculate a standard drink?
Different types of alcohol, including beer, wine, and liquor have different alcohol percentage content.
The United States sets one standard drink as containing around 14 grams of pure alcohol, which is found in the following:
- 12 ounces of regular beer (about 5 percent alcohol content)
- 8 to 9 ounces of malt liquor (about 7 percent alcohol)
- 5 ounces of wine (approximately 12 percent alcohol content)
- 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits/liquor (about 40 percent alcohol)
What are the physical effects of reaching BAC 0.08?
At a BAC of 0.08 percent, a person may experience severe impairment in the following:
- Muscle coordination (affecting speech, balance, vision, hearing, and reaction time)
- Concentration on the road or control of speed
- Processing any information
What are the effects of alcohol at various BAC levels?
|0.01 to 0.03 percent||No apparent effects or slight mood elevation|
|0.04 to 0.06 percent||A feeling of relaxation, warmth, and minor impairment of reasoning and memory|
|0.07 to 0.09 percent||Mild impairment of balance, speech, and vision|
|0.10 to 0.12 percent||Significant impairment of motor coordination, slurred speech, and loss of judgment|
|0.13 to 0.15 percent||
|0.16 to 0.20 percent||Dysphoria predominates along with nausea|
|0.25 to 0.30 percent||
|0.35 to 0.40 percent||Loss of consciousness|
0.40 percent and above
(a potentially fatal blood alcohol level)
|The onset of coma and risk of death due to respiratory failure|
What Is A Standard Drink? https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/what-standard-drink
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/22689-blood-alcohol-content-bac
The effectiveness of a 0.05 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for driving in the United States. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.12365
What Is Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)? https://vaden.stanford.edu/super/learn/alcohol-drug-info/reduce-your-risk/what-blood-alcohol-concentration-bac
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