Drunk Driving: Learn How Much You Can Really Drink Before Being Illegal

December has been designated National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. And what better time to raise awareness about the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs than the holidays when there are more parties than ever. We all know about the risks of drinking and driving, but do you know how much (or how little) it actually takes for you to reach the legal limit? Find out here.

According to MADD, on average, every 52 minutes someone is killed in a drunk driving crash–that’s more than 10,000 people a year. On top of that, every 90 seconds, someone is injured due to someone getting behind the wheel when they were impaired. What’s sad is the fact that all of these deaths and injuries are entirely preventable.

And yet, our country still doesn’t have adequate enforcement and prevention for drunk drivers getting on the road. In fact, roughly one-third of the drunk driving problems, including arrests, crashes, deaths, and injuries, come from repeat offenders. That means every time we’re on the road, we are potentially sharing it with 2 million people with three or more drunk driving offenses.

To help combat this, this holiday season President Obama has signed a proclamation stating that December is National Impaired Driving Month. The United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also sponsoring the campaign, “Drunk Driving: Over the Limit. Under Arrest.”  And thousands of police departments and law enforcement agencies across the Nation will redouble their efforts to ensure impaired drivers are detected and appropriate action is taken.

Remember, the legal limit of blood alcohol concentration is .08. The more you drink, the greater the effect that alcohol has on your ability to drive. But a person’s weight, gender, speed of drinking and amount of food in their stomach ultimately determines how much they can drink before reaching that .08 limit.

According to MADD, even just a .02 alcohol level can impair someone’s ability to drive (and that’s often reached in less than one drink). And a .05 level can result in a loss of coordination, difficulty steering and a decreased response to emergency situations when behind the wheel. That’s scary.

To find out how much is too much for you, use this handy calculator from the University of Oklahoma Police Department.

And remember, always designate a driver when going out and never get in the car with someone who has been drinking.

Have a safe holiday season!

Photo: shutterstock.com


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    • lalala

      This is so timely. I drove after drinking the other night (which I never, ever do) and felt so guilty afterwards. Granted, there wasn’t a single other person on the road, but still. Luckily I just did that calculator thingy you linked to and it estimated my blood alcohol level at .05. I usually go by: if you’re wondering whether or not you’re okay to drive, you’re not okay to drive. Some people are reckless and don’t think about it/get too drunk to know. I hateee it, it’s so stressful. Thanks for the reminder that driving after drinking is ALWAYS a bad idea, because accidents happen and you need to be able to react.