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How BAC can impact your ability to drive

For many Broomfield residents, a night out on the town often involves one or two alcoholic beverages. However, even the consumption of a seemingly small amount of alcohol can raise one’s blood alcohol content, which may have very negative effects when behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detail the potential impact of alcohol based a body’s BAC. In order to determine the level of impairment, the CDC examined what effect one standard drink (equaling 14 grams of alcohol) per hour would have on a 160-pound man. While there are variations in the size and alcohol content of drinks, as well as considerations for body size and gender, these figures provide a good baseline for the level of intoxication one can experience.

Starting with the legal limit for driving in many states, a person with a BAC of .08 percent will find difficulty with basic reasoning skills and may have issues with reaction time, speech and even vision. This BAC typically amounts to approximately four drinks, and can have a considerable impact on one’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. At about seven drinks (which equals a BAC of .15 percent), the effects become even more pronounced. Nausea and vomiting are likely at this point, as is a significant loss of balance and an inability to process information.

While safe drivers know they should never drive while impaired, what can be done if they should encounter an inebriated motorist on the road? Mothers Against Drunk Driving offers a few important tips on what to do in this event. First and foremost, drivers should make every attempt to avoid the suspected drunk driver by staying as far away as possible from the vehicle. If possible, take down the license plate number and contact the authorities when it is safe to do so. Also include the specific location in your call, as well as a description of the vehicle. 

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