How Blood Alcohol Content Impairs Driving

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is a predictable influence that a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) will have on their driving ability. The CDC research is based on a 160 pound man and the amount of drinks (described as one 12 oz beer, one 1.5 oz shot, or one 5 oz glass of wine) he would have to drink in one hour to reach certain BAC levels. With a blood alcohol content of 0.02% (which is approximately 2 drinks for our 160 lb man), it is likely that a person’s visual perception is beginning to be altered and their attention span has decreased, making multi-tasking more difficult. It is important to note that in Ohio if you are under the age of 21 and driving with a BAC of 0.02, you will be charged with Operating a Vehicle After Underage Consumption (OVAUC). At a BAC of 0.05% (roughly 3 drinks), it is probable that a person’s coordination is reduced, the ability to track objects is impaired, and they may have difficulty steering a vehicle. It is at this point that the ability to drive safely begins to be limited, as does the ability to make rational decisions; however, it is still legal to drive at this level in most states. By the time a person has reached Ohio’s legal alcohol limit of .08%, their vision and perception is negatively impacted, along with their short-term memory and information processing ability, which results in impaired driving. When BAC levels continue to rise, the ability to control a moving vehicle, safely, declines inversely. These calculations are based on 160 pound man. If you are a regular drinker and have a higher tolerance, your BAC may be much higher before you feel the effects, but it does not change the legal driving limit. If you are smaller than 160 pounds or are a woman, your BAC can increase quicker with fewer drinks.



There are many myths regarding alcohol and driving, such as “I’m much more focused, I’m actually a better driver when I’m drunk.” The truth is, a person who is drunk driving may feel like they are driving better, but refer back to what we learned earlier about alcohol’s effect on perceptions and rational decision making. When people are knowingly in the wrong, they may pay more attention to their surroundings, but an absence of being pulled over does not mean they drove well. In reality, a person is no better at driving drunk, but they certainly may perceive it as so. Some people believe that they can engage in a night of drinking and then quickly drop their BAC to legal driving limits with trusted “quick tricks.” Some of the most popular myths to drop BAC levels include eating a heavy meal, guzzling water, voiding urine, and drinking coffee. Although all of those are slightly true, they do not make significant differences in a timely manner. The simple truth is, your body has to process all the alcohol you have consumed, and that just takes time.

Impaired driving can have terrible consequences and lead to some horrific outcomes. Best case scenario, you make it home, uncaught and unscathed. If the worst case scenario played out, instead, and you tested over the legal blood alcohol level, you may be facing felony charges. It is a good idea to find an attorney who is specifically experienced as a DUI defense lawyer. You may be tempted to let your court-appointed lawyer represent you to save on cost, but if you end up being found guilty, a DUI/ OVI, it could cost you well over $10,000, your license, and haunt your criminal record for the rest of your life. An experienced DUI defense lawyer brings specialized experience to your side of the courtroom and can make all the difference. Probst Law Offices does not condone drinking and driving but understands that everyone has made poor choices at some point in their lives. If you have found yourself facing criminal DUI charges, you need our trusted DUI defense lawyers on your side. Don’t go it alone, call our offices for your free consultation today.