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What does your BAC level say about your ability to drive?

If an officer pulls you over on suspicion of drunk driving, he or she will ask you to submit to a breath alcohol test. A police officer can make an extremely accurate assessment of your level of impairment with the help of a small instrument that will measure your blood alcohol content.

Breathalyzer measurements indicate the effect that alcohol consumption has on your ability to drive, beginning with a BAC of .02 percent or lower, which, from your point of view, would certainly be the best level to have.

How alcohol affects your body

Your liver is in charge of metabolizing alcohol, and it can only manage a certain amount every hour, which works out to about one drink for every 60 minutes. However, the speed with which your body disposes of the wine, beer or liquor you drink also depends on your weight, the percent of body fat you have and the amount of food you consume along with the alcoholic beverage.

What different BAC levels indicate

If your BAC level is 0.029 or less, you might feel mildly relaxed, but there is no loss of coordination. You do not appear impaired and therefore will be considered “normal.” At the next level, up to 0.059 BAC, you will experience mild euphoria and lack of concentration. You are heading toward 0.08 percent BAC, which is the level at which it is illegal to drive because the alcohol impairs your driving skills. You may have blurry vision, reduced ability to reason and exhibit risky driving behavior. If you have been drinking to excess, a BAC of 0.13 or above confirms that you are drunk and clearly unable to drive properly.

The Alcohol Enforcement Unit

In the state of Michigan, trained members of the Alcohol Enforcement Unit of the State Police are responsible for administering breath alcohol tests. The primary test instrument they use is a hand-held device with a fuel cell sensor that reacts to the alcohol in your breath. The test provides accurate information about the blood alcohol content in your system and your ability to be a safe and responsible driver.


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