You’re having dinner with friends. One glass of wine becomes two. Before you know it, you’ve had more than is probably wise. You’re fine – you know you’re more than capable of driving safely. However, is it really safe to drive “buzzed”? Can you really drive safely with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) under .08?
First thing to realize is that even at a BAC of .02 alcohol already starts affecting the way you function. By the time you are at a BAC of .05 you will start experiencing reduced reaction times and loss of better judgement skills. The safest choice is not driving at all when you drink. Additionally, a few things to keep in mind legally:
DUI: First and foremost, understand that your BAC is only one of the factors that a police officer will use when determining whether to charge you with DUI. Even a BAC under .08 can lead to a ticket and going straight to jail.
Impairment: Here’s another tip – even if your BAC is under .08, you can still be impaired. You might not think you are, but it’s more than possible. Additionally, you may be feeling that alcohol-encouraged sense of confidence. The officer can also use any impaired driving to judge you under the influence, regardless of your blood alcohol concentration.
Under Age: If you’re under the legal drinking age (21 in most places), you can still be arrested and charged with DUI with a BAC under .08. This is because all states have zero tolerance laws where underage drinking is involved. In short, underage drinkers don’t have a maximum BAC, because they’re not legally allowed to drink in the first place.
Presumptive Limits: While .08 is the national threshold for drunk driving, almost half the states in the country have stricter definitions. If you test at .04 or .05 in these states, you’re presumed drunk.
When everything is said and done, it’s not safe to drive with a BAC under .08. If you’ve had a drink, don’t drive. It’s as simple as that.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Is It Safe to Drive With a BAC Under .08? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.