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Why BAC is Not Conclusive Evidence of Intoxication

Posted on:8/2/2012
Although the amount of alcohol consumed and the time over which it is consumed are the major determinants of the BAC, the presence or absence of food in the stomach is another important factor in determining BACs because food absorbs alcohol and slows absorption, thus giving the liver more time to break down the alcohol .


Although the amount of alcohol consumed and the time over which it is consumed are the major determinants of the BAC, the presence or absence of food in the stomach is another important factor in determining BACs because food absorbs alcohol and slows absorption, thus giving the liver more time to break down the alcohol .Social drinkers often drink small amounts of alcohol usually with food to keep their BACs low because they do not like the intoxication caused by high BACs.

 

The effect produced by any level of BAC is different for different people. Inexperienced drinkers are often profoundly impaired with BACs of 0.05% or so, whereas experienced heavy drinkers can appear normal with BACs of 0.08% or higher.This is not because the livers of experienced drinkers are better at metabolizing the alcohol, but because their brains have learned to drivers.

 

In contrast to heavy drinkers who regularly understate their use of alcohol and its impairing effects on them, including their ability to drive a car, many inexperienced drinkers and most ordinary social drinkers not only feel impaired after one or two drinks, but they are afraid to drive for fear that they will be picked up by the police for drunk driving. This is a socially useful fear because it contributes to their drinking less, especially when they will be driving.

 

Even if such people had an automobile accident and were taken by a police officer for a blood alcohol test, they would be passed as not impaired by alcohol because their BACs would be so low, far below the current minimum standard of 0.08% and even below the future standard of 0.04%. On the other hand, most of these inexperienced drinkers are impaired by low doses of alcohol, so their fears are well founded.


  
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