Even people with good intentions can end up drinking more than they should when having a good time with friends and family. The result is an increased blood alcohol concentration (BAC), as well as a risk of legal penalties for driving under the influence.
The more alcohol you consume, the greater your BAC. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains how much alcohol it takes to raise BAC over the legal limit.
Three drinks cause BAC to elevate to .05%. Noticeable effects include reduced alertness, problems with response time, lowered small muscle control, and decreased visual tracking ability. While not over the legal limit, three drinks can still have an impact on driving ability.
By four drinks, BAC rises to the legal limit of .08%. If stopped and given a breathalyzer, a DUI charge is likely. Along with the legal ramifications, drivers experience difficulty concentrating, problems with self-control, impaired memory function, and decreased balance.
With a .10% BAC, cognitive function decreases. Response time and control over the vehicle are also negatively affected. A person may slur their speech or appear disoriented.
Many people experience nausea and vomiting upon reaching a .15% BAC. Their judgment is significantly impaired, as is their ability to focus on the task at hand. Muscle control decreases, which makes it harder to operate the vehicle.
The above limits are according to standard drink size, which varies according to the type of alcohol. The standard size for beer is 12 ounces, as beer has a 5% alcohol content. Conversely, liquor with a 40% alcohol content comes in a 1.5-ounce glass, otherwise known as a shot.