How to Know You are too Drunk to Drive

Did you know that on average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving car crash in their lifetime? (Source: National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) Under current Texas law, a BAC level of .08% or higher means that you are legally intoxicated. BAC is a legal and medical acronym for blood alcohol content or blood alcohol concentration. The amount of ethanol alcohol in an individual’s bloodstream is measured in breath or blood samples to determine the level of intoxication. In the spectrum of alcoholic drinks, how do you get to a .08% BAC reading?

The Average Man and Woman

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that the average weight for a man in the United States is 195.5 pounds; the average weight for a woman in the United States is 166.2 pounds. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) created a chart to help people know when they have had too much to drink.

For purposes of the following exercise, we are going to make some tweaks to the CDC numbers and assume the average weight for a man is 200 pounds and woman 160 pounds. The approximate BAC in one hour is

  • .08% for the man after consuming four drinks; and impaired at .04% after consuming two drinks.
  • .09% for the woman after consuming three drinks; and impaired at .06% after consuming two drinks.

These examples are for reference only. In addition to weight and gender, many factors can increase or decrease the above BAC readings, like physical condition, amount of food eaten, amount of sleep they have had, medications, and the actual alcohol content of the drinks.

How Much Alcohol as in Alcoholic Drinks?

One drink equals 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor (40% alcohol), 12 ounces of beer (4.5% of alcohol), or five ounces of wine (12%) of alcohol.

Is There an App for that?

Scientists at Ben-Guiron University of the Negev in Israel are developing an app that will tell you when you are too drunk to drive. The virtual breathalyzer fits into a smartwatch and phone and can tell by how someone walks if they can drive. Alcohol affects movement, a person’s gait, and balance. The sensors attached to the smartphone, smartwatch, fit band, or virtual glasses measure motion and are just as effective as a breathalyzer in determining intoxication level. Down the road, this application may be used to turn off the ignition in a connected car to start it from running and prevent the driver from driving drunk.

Every DWI Case is Unique

A good DWI defense attorney will guide you through every step of the DWI process, from arrest and arraignment to plea or trial. At The Law Office of Kimberly Griffin Tucker, P.C., we represent people accused of DWI in the Plano and surrounding areas of Denton County Texas. If you or someone you know has been arrested for DWI, contact us for a comprehensive case evaluation.

(image courtesy of Serge Esteve)