Alcohol and Young Adults: About BAC

| July 30, 2013

What is BAC?

BAC stands for blood alcohol concentration and is the percentage of blood that is concentrated with alcohol. It is a useful way of determining how much alcohol a person can consume. A BAC of .10 means that .1% of your bloodstream is composed of alcohol.

It is federal law that a person 21 years or older with a .08 BAC or more is considered impaired and it is illegal for them to drive a vehicle. However, even if your BAC is under 0.08 and you drive, you are still subject to criminal citation if found to be impaired.

It is illegal for a person under 21 years of age to have any BAC level over 0.00.

BAC’s effect on the body is affected by:
1. Weight
2. Gender
3. Food
4. Amount of alcohol consumed
5. Tolerance
6. Time frame
7. Mood
8. Menstruation

BAC charts are only tools, and do not guarantee specific BAC. When you drink alcohol, remember that fatigue, dehydration, other drugs, birth sex, and many other factors may increase the severity of the effects of alcohol which, in turn, increases risk of injury, health problems, or death.

Stay in the green campaign — know your BAC

Drink calculator: BAC

Although the effects of alcohol vary depending on the person, there is a general range at which different effects will be felt for the general population. Please note that some people may feel such effects at lower BAC levels.



.00 – .03 Slight euphoria
.04 – .06 Relaxed feeling, lower inhibition, minor impairment of reasoning and memory. Less cautious.
.07- .09 Impaired balance, speech, judgment, reasoning and reaction time
.10 – .12 Significant impairment of coordination, judgment and reaction time. Slurred speech
.13 -.15 Blurred vision, anxiety, severely impaired coordination and judgment. Could blackout.
.16 -.19 Nausea, higher anxiety, “sloppy drunk,” could pass out
.20 – .24 Disorientation, need help to stand/walk, vomiting and blackouts likely
.25 -.29 Severe impairment of mental, physical, sensory function, risk of serious injury. Likely to pass out.
.30 -.34 Stupor, little comprehension, hard to wake. Death possible.
.35 + Coma and/or death likely

What is tolerance?

Tolerance has a special effect on BAC. While most of the other factors actually alter the relationship between amounts drank and BAC, tolerance does not lower your BAC value. Tolerance merely shifts what effects of alcohol you feel at certain BAC values.

Category: Alcohol, Young Adults - Alcohol

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