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Is .08 BAC really when a driver is drunk?

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2023 | Automobile Accidents |

Nearly every state, including North Carolina, currently defines drunk driving as operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. However, it was not that long ago that most states used .10 percent as the threshold between (potentially) legal and impaired driving.

Meanwhile, a bill in the state House would lower the legal limit in North Carolina to .05 percent, a DUI limit which only one other state (Utah) currently uses. It might make you wonder how much alcohol is safe for people to drink before driving.

How drinking affects drivers

According to information provided by Duke University, here are the effects of alcohol based on the number of drinks consumed and BAC:

  • .01 – .05: One to two drinks. Causes relaxation, a sense of well-being and reduced inhibitions. Alertness impaired.
  • .06 – .10: Two to three drinks. Causes pleasant feelings, numbed emotions and sleepiness. Judgment and memory can be impaired.
  • .11 – .20: Three to four drinks. Can cause mood swings and inappropriate behavior. Coordination affected.

The amount of alcohol needed to cause drunkenness depends on factors like your gender, size, how often you drink and how quickly you consume drinks in a particular session. But as you can see, it generally takes no more than a drink or two for your ability to drive safely to be affected.

Reducing North Carolina’s legal limit to .05 would probably save lives and reduce serious car accident injuries. But drunk drivers will continue to break the law and put everyone in danger. After getting injured or losing a loved one to a drunk driver, you could be facing financial catastrophe on top of your grief and emotional upheaval. However, you may be entitled to substantial compensation from the driver.