BAC Breakdown & Its Effects on Driving

Anyone who gets behind the wheel should be prepared to drive safely, cautiously, and to the best of their ability, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case—especially in New Mexico. The Land of Enchantment continuously ranks as one of the worst states for drunk driving deaths, with Safewise listing it as the fifth state with the most impaired driving deaths and the CDC estimating an alarming 1,254 drunk driving deaths between 2003 and 2012

Deaths caused by drunk driving are prominent because being intoxicated affects three important functions; vision, cognition, and manual abilities. But what exactly causes these effects and how much alcohol is too much? It all comes down to BAC. 

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels represent the percentage of blood that is concentrated with alcohol based on the amount of drinks you’ve had. In New Mexico, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08% or above for drivers over the age of 21 and .02% for drivers under the age of 21. 

While everyone’s BAC varies by drink, due to their height, weight, and a multitude of other factors, the effects alcohol can have on anyone are still drastic. Below are some of the many effects a driver may experience while at different BAC levels, as noted by the CDC.

.02%, About Two Beers 

  • Loss of judgement
  • Trouble multitasking

.05%, About Three Beers

  • Reduced coordination 
  • Difficulty steering 
  • Reduced ability to track moving objects 

.08%, About Four Beers

  • Difficulty processing information and reasoning 
  • Trouble determining and controlling speed

.10%, About Five Beers

  • Significantly slow reaction time 
  • Difficulty staying in lane 
  • Difficulty breaking when needed

.15%, About Seven Beers

  • Serious difficulty controlling the car
  • Overall difficulty focusing, especially on driving 

Drink Responsibly, Drive Safer

Of course, there are ways to enjoy a fun and safe night out. While making plans for the night ahead, you should also make plans to drink responsibly and avoid driving after. Here are some tips to manage and monitor your BAC:

  • Eat Before – Having food in your system will slow alcohol absorption. 
  • Keep Track – Know exactly how much alcohol is in each drink. 
  • Pace – Know your limit and allow time between drinks. 
  • Alternate Drinks – Swap every other drink with a “decoy drink”, like water, juice, or a soda. 
  • Get a Ride – There are tons of options to safely get home after a night out, including ride share services, like Uber and Lyft, or a designated driver. 

While there are many ways to prevent drunk driving, many still choose to do so. If you or a family member falls victim to the negligence of a drunk driver, turn to the lawyers Albuquerque trusts—The Dinelli Law Firm! Call us at (505) 582-2157 and let us fight for you.