Changing Social Attitudes and Laws Regarding Drunk Driving
Sixty years ago, the legally permissible BAC levels (for drivers) in most jurisdictions across America was 0.15 grams percent, and still be able to drive.
Today, due to media reports of deaths and injuries from drunken driving, all states now set the legal alcohol limit for adult drivers at 0.08 grams percent or less (Utah passed a new statute in 2017 calling for an adult legal drinking limit of 0.05). Expect other states to follow this example, of lowering the alcohol blood level limit.
So, the quantity of alcohol needed for your blood alcohol content (BAC) to be over the legal limit is about half of what was permitted 60 years ago, under many state DUI laws. Two or three drinks can put some adult drinkers at a number that is above the legal alcohol limit, when the alcoholic beverages are consumed rapidly (i.e., in 45 to 75 minutes), and insufficient time has passed for metabolizing the alcohol.
Whenever POSSIBLY close to the legal alcohol limit, simply don’t drive. None of the inexpensive and fairly accurate portable breath alcohol calculators existed six decades ago, either.
When pulled over or stopped at a police checkpoint, a suspected drunk driver in every state in America will be read an implied consent notice that requires the arrested person to provide BAC levels, by a DUI test of breath alcohol, blood alcohol, or urine alcohol.
Not agreeing to submit to implied consent testing results in punishment ranging from total loss of all driving privileges, to possibly having to install a costly and embarrassing ignition interlock system in your car, to paying a hefty fine or even going to jail for DUI refusal.
Simply stated, if arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, a person’s refusal to submit to the official state sobriety test (alcohol breath test is the most common type of legal BAC test) will suspend or revoke the person’s driver’s license under implied consent laws in that state, but a DUI refusal may also require jail time, or a fine, or both for refusing to submit to a state sobriety test to check the arrested driver’s BAC levels and alcohol concentration.
If you do cooperate with implied consent, the police will use your legal blood alcohol level to try to obtain an alcohol content, from some type of state-approved BAC Calculator. These devices for BAC alcohol are most commonly a type of evidential breath machine, such as Intoxilyzer, Datamaster, Intoximeters, or Draeger.
With these post-arrest alcohol breath test results, police will try to convict you of a NEW type of driving under the influence, DUI-alcohol per se or “driving with a legal alcohol limit” in excess of the amount permitted by State law. So, keeping your BAC levels below the legal limit is essential.
These guidelines explain how to calculate BAC. The chart below will cover MOST people’s lean body mass, in estimating blood alcohol concentration.