The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released data showing that 38,824 lives were lost in traffic crashes nationwide in 2020. It may not surprise you that speeding is the number one cause of fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States. However, the second leading cause of fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States is due to alcohol and/or drug impaired drivers. Drug impaired driving is more prevalent between 9 AM – 9 PM while alcohol impaired driving is more prevalent between
9 PM – 9 AM.
Most people know that a .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) is illegal in every state in the US, and would result in a Driving While Intoxicated arrest in New York. The common question is…..How many drinks can a person consume before they are intoxicated? There are many variables that play a role when attempting to answer that question, so we will provide some basic information.
A standard drink is considered to be one 12-ounce domestic beer, or one shot of 80 proof liquor, or one 5 ounce pour of table wine. One standard drink will each result in approximately a .02 BAC once the alcohol enters your bloodstream. If you are drinking micro-brews that contain a higher alcohol content, or mixed drinks containing multiple shots of liquor, then only having one drink would result in a higher than .02 BAC. (A Long Island iced tea contains five shots of liquor and would result in a .10 BAC after only consuming one.) Alcohol needs to be absorbed into your bloodstream before impairment occurs. Twenty percent of absorption occurs in the stomach and 80 percent of absorption occurs in the small intestines. On an empty stomach, one drink will be 50% absorbed in 30 minutes, 90% absorbed in 60 minutes, and fully absorbed in about 90 minutes. If you eat before you start drinking, you can double the time it takes for the alcohol to absorb into your bloodstream. Therefore, if you want socialize, you should eat before consuming alcoholic beverages which will help slow down absorption rates. The human body metabolizes approximately three quarters of a standard drink per hour. Some persons metabolize more, and some persons metabolize less. Body mass and water content effect a person’s BAC. The average male is 68% water, and the average female is 55% water. As a result, if a male and female with identical body mass consumed the same amount of alcoholic beverage, the female would generally have a slightly higher BAC than the male. Tolerance determines how a person functions with a specific drug in their system and will not affect the blood alcohol content.
Bottom line……. Alcohol effects our decision making and inhibitions, so people tend to exhibit poor judgment and take unnecessary risks after consuming alcoholic beverages. Have a plan BEFORE you start drinking so you don’t put yourself or others at risk. The average cost of a DWI conviction is $10,000.00, so think before you drink.