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Drunk Driving and Blood Alcohol Content

BAC TestingA recent, late-night incident saw an intoxicated man drive right through a butcher shop display window in Petaluma. Fortunately, no one was injured, but both the business and the driver’s vehicle sustained major damage. The driver was later arrested for driving under the influence after testing revealed that his blood alcohol content was .20 percent.

BAC Testing

An accurate blood alcohol content (BAC) reading is often crucial evidence in determining whether a driver’s level of intoxication is over the legal limit. Because this test is so important, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a chart explaining the effects of alcohol at each BAC level and how a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle may be impaired.

BAC Levels

The CDC’s report includes the following information on BAC readings:

  • A .02 percent reading indicates that a person has consumed around two alcoholic beverages. The effects of this amount of alcohol include relaxation, altered mood, and a decline in judgment. Drivers with this BAC level may also experience reduced visual function and a lowered ability to multi-task.
  • A .05 percent BAC reading is the equivalent of approximately three alcoholic drinks. A person with this level of alcohol in his or her system may begin to exhibit loss of small-muscle control, impaired judgment, and reduced alertness. For an inebriated driver, this often translates to trouble steering, impaired coordination, the inability to respond quickly to emergencies, and difficulty tracking objects in motion.
  • A BAC level of .08 percent is the equivalent of around four alcoholic drinks and represents the legal limit for drivers nationwide. A person with this BAC will begin to exhibit poor muscle coordination, impaired reasoning, and a lack of self-control. Drivers will experience an inability to control speed and respond to changing lights or unexpected vehicles.
  • A reading of .10 percent indicates that a driver has consumed approximately five drinks. Drivers with this amount of alcohol in their systems, experience a severe drop in reaction time and control, which is usually evidenced by an inability to stay in their lane or brake when needed.
  • A .15 percent reading represents the consumption of around seven alcoholic beverages. A person at this level of intoxication will begin to exhibit decreased muscle control and a severe loss of balance. A driver’s ability to control a vehicle will be substantially impaired, and he or she will struggle with focusing and processing auditory and visual information.

If you have been injured in a car accident or lost a loved one due to another driver’s intoxication, you may be able to obtain compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Please contact the passionate San Jose personal injury attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. for a free initial consultation.

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