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Just How Does Blood Alcohol Content Affect Your Driving?

We hear a lot about blood alcohol concentration (BAC), but how exactly does it affect our ability to drive?

That may be a tough question to answer since all of us will absorb and metabolize alcohol at different rates. However, with a bit of assistance from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), we can see how different BAC levels affect an average person’s reflexes.

How is BAC measured?

Our apologies for sounding a bit too technical, but here in the U.S., your BAC is measured by dividing grams of alcohol by 100 milliliters of blood and then converted into a percentage.

In most states, for example, the legal BAC limit is .08%. That means that for every 100 milliliters of blood, there are 8 grams of alcohol in the bloodstream.

Effects of Blood Alcohol Concentration on the Average Driver

.02% Loss of judgementAltered mood


Slight body warmth

Decline in visual functions, such as ability to rapidly track a moving objectWeakened ability to perform 2 tasks at the same time
.05% Impaired judgementLowered alertness and inhibition

Exaggerated behavior

Declining coordinationDifficulty steering
.08% Muscle coordination becomes poor (problems with balance, speech, vision and reaction time)Self-control, reasoning and memory become impaired Ability to process information (recognizing traffic signals, etc.) is reduced significantlyAbility to concentrate is reduced

Short-term memory is affected

.10% Speech become slurredIncreasingly poor coordination Difficult to stay in proper traffic laneCan’t brake appropriately
.15% Significant loss of balanceVomiting

Much less muscle control

Serious lack of ability to control vehicle or to maintain attention to drivingSubstantial impairment in processing visual and audio cues.

If You’re Facing DUI Charges in Arizona, Call Alex Lane

If you’ve been charged with DUI in Arizona, the stakes are simply too high for you not to have legal representation.

We’ll examine all aspects of your case and fight aggressively for your rights.

For a free consultation, call the offices of Alex Lane. Our number is 480-776-5757.


If you have been charged with a DUI, drug charge, sex crime or any serious criminal offense, let an experienced defense team fight for you. Schedule a consultation with one of our partners today. Call (480) 562-3482 or send an email.