Having basic knowledge on how alcohol effects the body is a valuable tool; 1) it may aid in the self assessment of one’s ability to drive safely after consuming alcohol, 2) it may help decipher if someone else has the ability to drive safely after consuming alcohol, 3) and it may help one’s awareness on how alcohol is effecting their body and enable them to make better decisions to slow or stop alcohol consumption to avoid dangerous situations.
Blood Alcohol Level 0.01 – 0.03
Mild relaxation; slight loosening of inhibitions; slight loss of social discomfort; mild intensification of mood. If driving and pulled over by police in Washington State, the risk of being charged with a DUI at this BAC level is very low. An individual would most likely have the physical control to pass the DUI field sobriety tests at this level.
Blood Alcohol Level 0.04 – 0.06
Small buzz; slight sedation; feelings of warmth & relaxation; loss of shyness; emotion and behavior can become exaggerated; fine motor skills decline; reaction time slows. There may be only minimal awareness of these effects. Driving is a risky choice. At this BAC level, Washington State police could charge an individual with DUI (even though they are under the legal Washington State BAC level of 0.08) if their driving was impaired.
Blood Alcohol Level 0.07 – 0.09
Fuzzy thinking; motor skills clearly impaired; speech may be noticeable impaired; slight and hearing acuity are reduced; judgement ability is slowed and reduced. Ability to decide about further drinking is impaired and ability to evaluate and respond to sexual situations is diminished. If pulled over by Washington State police, an individual would most likely be charged with a DUI at this BAC level and may or may not fail the DUI field sobriety tests.
Blood Alcohol Level 0.10 – 0.20
Emotions unstable; perceptions, thinking, judgement, reaction time are significantly impaired. An individual would be charged with a DUI at this BAC level and would have increased risk of failing the DUI field sobriety tests.
Blood Alcohol Level 0.25 – 0.30
Confusion, disorientation, dizziness, exaggerated emotions. All sense perceptions distorted. Numb. Sever risk of injury. An individual would be charged with a DUI by Washington State police officers at this BAC level. An individual would most likely fail the DUI field sobriety tests at this BAC level.
Blood Alcohol Level 0.30 – 0.40
Stupor; motor functions severely impaired; unable to stand/walk. Vomiting, incontinence are high risk. Loss of pain awareness. Impaired consciousness. Risk of death. An individual would have a very hard time operating a vehicle at this BAC level and would be charged with DUI if pulled over by police officers. Additionally, the individual would not physically be able to complete the DUI field sobriety tests at this BAC level and thus they would fail the DUI field tests.
Blood Alcohol Level 0.40 +
High risk of impaired circulation, respiration or heart rhythm. Coma and death due to anesthesia of brain areas and nervous system functioning are very possible.
Information on how blood alcohol levels effects the body was derived from Washington State University’s website, go to adcaps.wsu.edu for more information on this topic.