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How Many Drinks until You are Impaired

Although, alcohol remains one of the premiere ways that adults socialize, there is also a level of stigma that should not be avoided. This is especially true in regards to intoxication and impairment. In this vein, one should also use strong judgment when engaging in socialized or personal drinking. A large part of that caution is looking at preventive ways to avoid a motor vehicle accident while intoxicated or simply to avoid making bad judgment calls as a result of alcohol. One of the biggest preventive measures to take is to understand how blood alcohol plays a large factor in intoxication as a whole.

As noted by the CDC, over one million drivers were arrested in 2011 alone for driving while intoxicated.   In accordance with the law, one is found guilty of DWI/DUI when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is exactly 0.08%. Although, one does not typically immediately know his or her BAC level after drinking, there are specific measures that would allow one to determine how many drinks it takes to be impaired.

The first thing that you should keep in mind is that one should be mindful of his or her own limitations, which can largely be dependent on height, weight, gender, and so forth. According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) a man weighing around 240 pounds would see an impairment at 4 drinks/.06 BAC whereas a woman weight 140 pounds would see an impairment at just 2 drinks/.02 BAC. However, as mentioned this is just a general estimate and the level of impairment would be highly dependent on the nuances of the individual.

The research also shows that one alcoholic drink is equal to approximately 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor, which translates to 40% alcohol. Additionally, 12 ounces of beer would be around 4.5% of alcohol and 5 ounces of wine be around 12% alcohol. Moreover, one’s blood alcohol content will begin to change roughly 15 minutes after the first drink is consumed. Alternating water with your drink of choice may serve to help keep you hydrated and can help you slow your consumption of alcohol.

Again, however, this allows for a general estimate and many factors would change these percentages such as the type of alcohol or the way in which drinks are consumed overall and the persons body weight. In addition, this conventional wisdom does not account for how many drinks one should stop at before deciding to get behind the wheel of a car.

So How Many Drinks Will Make Me Impaired?

While there is no clear answer to this question, one should be mindful of operating a motor vehicle when consuming any level of alcohol. Thus, the safest number of drinks to consume before deciding to drive is zero, as this guarantees a blood alcohol level of 0%. For those that choose to drink, the clearest suggestion after considering the above information is to choose a delegated sober drive. In doing so, one is free to drink and ensure that the safety of one’s self and others is secured.

Don’t take the chance- Please do not drink and drive!

If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver please call the Baumgartner Law Firm for a no obligation consultation to discuss your rights and options- (281) 587-1111.




Greg Baumgartner

attorney greg baumgartner

Greg Baumgartner has practiced personal injury law since 1984. He holds not one but two law degrees and is a graduate of Trial Lawyers College. He is licensed in Texas and Colorado. Mr. Baumgartner has earned a reputation for exemplary results for his clients. And has been preeminent rated for decades and recognized by Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Super Lawyers, Expertise, Newsweek, Houstonia magazine, and many others. He has given educational talks to lawyers and many media interviews regarding personal injury cases.