Blood Alcohol Concentration
Blood Alcohol Concentration
When a person drinks alcohol, the alcohol is absorbed from the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. The amount of alcohol in the blood is called blood alcohol concentration (BAC). As blood travels to the brain, the alcohol in the blood produces the signs and symptoms of inebriation, or drunkenness. BAC is expressed as the weight of alcohol in a fixed volume of blood, for example, grams per liter.
In addition to how much a person drinks, several factors affect the amount of alcohol in the blood. Eating along with drinking alcohol decreases the amount of alcohol that can be quickly absorbed into the blood. Having more than one drink in an hour causes the BAC to increase rapidly. The percentage of body fat in a person's total weight also affects BAC. More fat means less body water into which the alcohol can distribute, thus increasing BAC. This is why women
|CONCENTRATIONS OF ALCOHOL (ETHANOL) IN BLOOD FOR LEGAL PURPOSES|
|Concentration Unit||Country||Legal Limit|
|Percent weight/volume (% w/v)||United States||0.10 g/100 ml|
|Milligrams per 100 milliliter (mg/dl)||Britain||80 mg/100 ml|
|Milligrams per milliliter (mg/ml)||Netherlands||0.50 mg/ml|
|Milligrams per gram (mg/g)||Sweden||0.20 mg/g|
|Milligrams per gram (mg/g)||Norway||0.50 mg/g|
|THE EFFECTS OF BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVELS ON PEOPLE|
|50||(0.05%)||There may be no observable effects on behavior, but thought, judgment, and restraint may be more lax and vision is affected. More errors in tasks that require divided attention such as more steering errors, and increased likelihood of causing an accident.|
|80||(0.08%)||Reaction time for deciding and acting increases. Motor skills are impaired. The likelihood of a crash increases to three to four times the likelihood when sober.|
|100||(0.10%)||Six times as likely to be involved in a crash. Reaction time to sights and sounds increases. Physical and mental coordination are impaired; movement becomes noticeably clumsy.|
|150||(0.15%)||Twenty-five times as likely to be involved in a crash. Reaction time increases significantly, especially in tasks that require divided attention. Difficulty performing simple motor skills. Physical difficulty in driving.|
|200||(0.20%)||One hundred times as likely to be involved in a crash. Motor area of brain significantly depressed, and all perception and judgment distorted. Difficulty standing, walking, and talking. Driving erratic.|
|300||(0.30%)||Confusion and stupor; inability to track a moving object with the eyes. Passing out is likely.|
|400||(0.40%)||Coma is likely.|
|450–500||(0.45–0.50%)||Death is likely.|
|source: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the National Safety Council.|
generally have a higher BAC than men after having the same number of drinks.
Laws in the United States establish limits on how high a person's BAC can be while driving. The legal limit in the United States is 0.10 grams per 100 milliliters of blood, or a BAC of 0.10 percent. Some state laws set an even lower BAC. Law enforcement officers use Breathalyzer machines to measure BAC. The measurement of alcohol concentration in the breath is converted into a measurement of alcohol concentration in the blood.
"Blood Alcohol Concentration." Drugs, Alcohol, and Tobacco: Learning About Addictive Behavior. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 24, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/blood-alcohol-concentration
"Blood Alcohol Concentration." Drugs, Alcohol, and Tobacco: Learning About Addictive Behavior. . Retrieved August 24, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/blood-alcohol-concentration
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.