Ten-thousand Americans die in crashes blamed on alcohol each year. That’s why a panel of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine just made a series of recommendations to stem that tide. They include ideas like higher alcohol taxes, better enforcement on underage drinking and dropping the legal blood alcohol limit from 0.08 to 0.05.
So, is the current legal limit too high? Good Question.
Every state, but Utah, has a 0.08 threshold. (Utah’s 0.05 law goes into effect December 2018.) That’s a change from just two decades ago, when the threshold for many states was .10. Minnesota was the last to make the switch to 0.08 in 2005.
“If you have a couple of drinks back to back in short order, you will raise your blood alcohol level to 0.08,” says HCMC Emergency Physician Dr. David Plummer. “It depends on the time between them and it depends on how rapidly it’s absorbed.”
How quickly people reaches a certain blood alcohol content also depends on size, weight, sex and how much they’ve eaten.
According to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, a 140-pound woman would reach a 0.10 BAC after three drinks and a 0.06 after two. A 180-pound man would reach a 0.06 after three drinks and a 0.08 after four.