Call for a Free Consultation
click for free consultation

Understanding Blood Alcohol Content (BAC): How It Affects Driving Ability

When discussing the implications of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) on driving ability, it’s important for you to understand first what exactly BAC is and how it is affected by just a small amount of alcohol

Your BAC is a measure of the amount of alcohol present in your blood at any given time. The figure calculated reflects how much alcohol you have consumed and is influenced by other factors related to your personal physique and metabolism.

Although alcohol’s effect might be enjoyable in the right setting, its impact on your coordination, judgment, and reaction times can prove deadly behind the wheel. In the case you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, call our drunk driving accident lawyers in Colorado Springs today.

Any Amount of Alcohol Influences Your Driving Ability 

A common and highly dangerous misconception is the belief that one can consume small amounts of alcohol without any impact on their driving abilities. The reality is quite different – even with a BAC well below the legal limit, your ability to drive a vehicle safely can be seriously impaired.

According to research, “Alcohol-induced driving impairment can occur with any departure from a zero-blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Because intoxication is characterized by impaired judgment, drivers under the influence of alcohol may overestimate their capacity to safely operate a vehicle.”

In another study, there was evidence of significant impairment throughout the BAC range of 0.02% to 0.10%, with a major conclusion being that “by 0.04% BAC, all measures of impairment that are statistically significant are in the direction of degraded performance.”

You might think it’s safe because it falls under the legal driving level (below 0.08%) but there’s still definitive impairment in coordination skills tied to responsible driving.

You may not perceive these mild impairments due to your altered state of consciousness induced by a minor amount of alcohol, but they exist and should be taken seriously.

How Exactly Does Alcohol Affect Driving?

Understanding the impact of various Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) levels on your driving capabilities is crucial in maintaining not just your own safety, but also that of others on the road. Here’s a brief overview according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

0.02% BAC

You may experience some loss of judgment and altered mood driven by slight relaxation and body warmth. The capacity to visually track moving targets rapidly or perform two tasks simultaneously starts declining thus hindering optimal driving.

0.05% BAC

At this level, you might exhibit exaggerated behavior and potentially lose control of small muscles which can affect tasks like focusing your eyes. Judgment becomes impaired, alertness is lowered, and there’s a reduction in your inhibition, making you feel good but likely less attentive to the road

0.08% BAC

Muscle coordination now takes a substantial hit; your balance, vision accuracy, reaction times, and your ability to perceive danger is decreased. This clearly compromises general safety and the awareness needed while driving. Your judgment is also affected quite a bit.

0.1% BAC

As the number rises, so do the impairments and therefore the risks. At this level, there’s a clear deterioration of reaction time and control, which causes issues such as slurred speech, poor coordination, and slowed thinking processes that decrease your ability to maintain appropriate lane position or brake correctly while driving.

0.15% BAC

As your BAC nears 0.15%, you’ll likely have far less control over your muscles than normal, possibly causing nausea or even vomiting, unless this level is reached slowly or a person has developed a tolerance for alcohol. A major loss of balance can also be expected.

At all BAC levels above 0, you’re potentially impaired and could face serious legal repercussions, from criminal charges to civil lawsuits if you cause an accident and injure or kill someone.

If you’ve caused an accident while under the influence or you’ve been involved in an accident with a drunk driver, it’s critical to reach out to an experienced Colorado Springs car accident attorney right away. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.