If you’ve been pulled over by a police officer in Maryland on suspicion of drunk driving, you may be asked to take a breath test. These tests can measure your blood alcohol concentration to determine whether you are impaired while driving.
Understanding blood alcohol concentration
In Maryland and most other states, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08% for drivers of passenger vehicles. For those driving commercial trucks and other, similar vehicles, the BAC limit is half that much.
Different factors can affect your BAC. One is the number of alcoholic beverages you’ve consumed. For example, one beer might not have the same effect as multiple shots of whiskey. However, other factors can result in your levels being higher or lower regardless of the alcohol you have drunk. If you drank on an empty stomach or are small in stature and thin, your level could be higher than someone who ate a full meal before drinking.
Age can also affect your BAC level. For example, if a younger person consumes alcohol, they might be more likely to go over the legal limit than someone older. The speed of your alcohol consumption can also play a part in your BAC. For example, if you drink two beers but chug them within minutes instead of nursing them, you might be over 0.08%.
How different BAC levels can affect you
With a BAC of 0.02%, you feel more relaxed and your judgment starts dipping. At 0.05%, judgment is impaired and you’re not as alert. At 0.08%, your judgment, reasoning and muscle coordination are impaired. Over that legal limit, you’re at a much higher risk of getting into an accident. By around twice the legal limit, you’re more likely to vomit and become confused and drowsy.
Drunk driving is dangerous and avoidable. If you’re drinking, make plans to get home via taxi, rideshare, public transit or with a designated driver.