There is a gender difference, too. Women generally
have a lower relative percentage of body water
than men. Since alcohol is carried in body water, this
means that a woman generally will reach a higher BAC
level than a man of her same body weight will when
each has the same number of drinks.
The law in most U.S. states, and throughout Canada,
sets the legal limit at 0.08 percent. In some other
countries, the limit is even lower. For example, it is
0.05 percent in both France and Germany. The
BAC limit for all commercial drivers in the United States
is 0.04 percent.
The BAC will be over 0.10 percent after three to
six drinks (in one hour). Of course, as we have seen,
it depends on how much alcohol is in the drinks,
and how quickly the person drinks them.
But the ability to drive is affected well below a BAC of
0.10 percent. Research shows that the driving skills
of many people are impaired at a BAC approaching
0.05 percent, and that the effects are worse at night.
All drivers are impaired at BAC levels above
Statistics show that the chance of being in a collision
increases sharply for drivers who have a BAC of
0.05 percent or above. A driver with a BAC level of
0.06 percent has doubled his or her chance of having a
collision. At a BAC level of 0.10 percent, the chance
of this driver having a collision is 12 times greater; at a
level of 0.15 percent, the chance is 25 times greater!
The body takes about an hour to rid itself of the alcohol
in one drink. No amount of coffee or number of cold
showers will speed that up. “I will be careful” is not the
right answer. What if there is an emergency, a need to
take sudden action, as when a child darts into the street?
A person with even a moderate BAC might not be able to
react quickly enough to avoid the collision.
There is something else about drinking and driving that
many people do not know. Medical research shows
that alcohol in a person’s system can make crash
injuries worse, especially injuries to the brain, spinal
cord, or heart. This means that when anyone who has
been drinking — driver or passenger — is in a crash,
that person’s chance of being killed or permanently
disabled is higher than if the person had not been
2005 - Saab 97X Owner Manual