Blood Alcohol Concentration

Blood Alcohol Concentration, or BAC, refers to the amount of alcohol that has been released into the bloodstream of a person after he or she drinks. Depending on several factors, even one drink can cause intoxication!

It is important to remember that just because you don't "feel drunk", that doesn't mean you are not intoxicated. It also doesn’t mean that your motor skills and depth perception have not been affected.

When you drink, you have to take into consideration how much you weigh, what type of alcohol your are drinking, your metabolism, how soon you are considering operating equipment or driving a car, and how long you have been drinking…just for starters!

If you are a woman that weighs less than 120 pounds, you could fail a BAC test after one drink or three drinks of 1 ounce each; if you are a man and weigh around 200 pounds, that level is slightly higher because of your larger blood volume. But that is just a basic formula, and should not be construed as "carved in stone" because every single person is different when it comes to alcohol consumption and there are many factors that influence your level of intoxication.

A portable breathalyzer device calculates blood alcohol levels without regard to those influencing factors. The drinker blows into a tube and a calibrated gauge shows a bloodstream-to-alcohol ratio. The breathalyzer is a very accurate tool to measure personal consumption since there's a direct correlation between the percentage of alcohol present in a deep lung air sample and the percentage of alcohol in the blood. And there's no way to fool it.

It is vital that everyone who drinks understand how they work because many employers are now using them when a workplace accident occurs or as part of a pre-employment screening process.

Using a blood alcohol concentration device at home may help keep your teenagers from driving drunk and injuring themselves, causing property damage, or avoid drunk driving charges!

To retain all your mental and physical capacities your BAC must fall below .02% on the breathalyzer's gauge. Law enforcement uses these portable devices in order to determine whether or not a person is guilty of drunk driving, which by law, occurs at .08% BAC and above.

Of course, there can be extenuating circumstances that can cause false readings, but for the most part, these units are more than 98% accurate because your breath cannot lie.

BAC devices have been in use since 1954, so if you are stopped by an officer and are suspected of drunk driving, expect to be asked to take this test. That's why it is so important for drinkers to know their blood alcohol concentration level before they get into a car or even behind the wheel of any motor vehicle.

It's what we call "Intervention at the point of consumption", which simply means giving the public the opportunity to test their impairment levels between the bar and the car.

See the blood alcohol concentration chart, which shows approximate levels of impairment based on the number of drinks consumed.

Learn more about alcohol testing and the causes of drunk driving.