It’s time to define alcohol consumption and understand how it relates to that feeling of elation that can come from enjoying a social drink with friends. It all comes down to one thing: Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). BAC is important, because it’s what determines whether you can or should drive, the results of any breathalyzer test you might be required to take, and what can happen to you if you fail to pass that test. Most importantly, though, BAC comes down to safety – yours and that of every other driver and passenger on the road – so it’s vital that you understand BAC if you’re going to be driving.
What is BAC?
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is a formula that helps determine a person’s level of intoxication. It measures the amount of milligrams of alcohol within 100 milliliters of blood coursing through your body. The more alcohol you consume within a certain time frame, the higher the alcohol to blood ratio becomes, leading to a higher level of intoxication.
The degree of intoxication differs from person to person and is highly circumstantial. It can depend on things like how quickly you drink, your weight, your gender, how much food you ate, and other factors.
How is BAC measured?
BAC levels are directly proportional to Breath Alcohol Content (BrAC). When alcohol enters the bloodstream, it sifts its way through the body and ultimately leaves deposits in the lungs. The alcohol content within the lungs is then measured with a breath alcohol tester. The breath alcohol tester draws a 1.2 liter breath sample from the subject and forces it through an electrochemical or infrared sensor, which interprets the sample into BAC format. That’s why police sobriety spot checks are equipped with breathalyzers to ensure everyone’s safety and help prevent drinking and driving.
How can I sober up?
Sleep, coffee, and a cold shower can completely remove alcohol from your system, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, these myths are false. The only thing that can do that is time. In general, it takes the average body around 2 hours to completely expel the alcohol from a single drink (13.5 grams of alcohol) from its system. These numbers are, of course, just an average and can differ slightly from person to person.
I’m a big person and can ‘hold’ my alcohol.
Well, that may be true, depending on your body makeup. As previously stated, alcohol travels through the body via the bloodstream. Since muscle contains more blood than fatty tissue, the alcohol blends better; fatty tissue contains more water, which forces the alcohol to stick around rather than be absorbed at a quicker pace.
There are ways to better determine your BAC level without measuring BrAC. Many online BAC calculators guide you through a night of drinking. A similar BAC calculator can be found within the DRIVESAFE™ élan app, developed by Alcohol Countermeasure Systems (ACS) and supplied by ALCOLOCK. Visit our DRIVESAFE™ élan page or our personal breathalyzer category page to learn more about our breath alcohol testing solutions.
ACS manufactures industry-leading breath alcohol testing technologies and allows ALCOLOCK to distribute our products throughout North America, Europe and the world.
Whoever you are, and whatever you do, make the responsible choice by planning your night out ahead of time. And of course, never drink and drive.