In Texas, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is 0.08 percent (this may change if the National Transportation Safety Board gets its way – they have been advocating lowering the limit to 0.05). This means that if you have more than 0.08% BAC, you can be arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). A common question we hear is, how much can you drink before you cross the line?
The science of alcohol impairment is pretty well understood, but that doesn’t mean BAC is one-size-fits-all. There are a number of factors that can affect a person’s BAC. It’s important to remember that each factor is unique to you, and it can vary from one occasion to the next. Additionally, even if you have the same BAC as someone else, you and that person may not necessarily be impaired to the same degree. Here is a short list of some things that can affect BAC:
- Rate of consumption
- The strength of your drinks
- Body type
- Body composition (fat vs. muscle)
- Medications you take
- Food you’ve consumed
- Alcohol tolerance
- Overall health
How Can I Calculate My Own BAC?
Some companies produce personal breathalyzers for consumer use. Some can even be plugged into your smartphone. There are also some apps that can be used to estimate BAC based on user input, and calculators and charts online you can use.
Next week we will be answering more frequently asked questions about DWIs in Texas, so stay tuned.