Talk:Blood alcohol content

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March 12, 2004Peer reviewReviewed

Chart issue[edit]

A man was found today unconscious, but alive with a .552 BAC, meaning the chart's description of >.5 as being deadly is wrong. (talk) 17:17, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

It says "High possibility of death", so it's not wrong. Also, I had a BAC of 0.15-0.16 (per two BAC calculators) and threw up like 4 times; it was a blur, felt like dying, and gum got stuck to my shirt. So that part of the chart is true. --User123o987name (talk) 09:04, 5 July 2020 (UTC)

another error[edit]

The "Units of measurement" table states: 1/10,000 g/mL = 1 mg/100mL This is obviously wrong, 1/10,000 g/mL = 1 mg/10mL — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:56, 26 October 2011 (UTC) Also first line of table numerical error corrected from .1 g/dL to 1 g/dL DeCaux (talk) 07:29, 27 November 2012 (UTC)DeCaux


The info at the bottom of the article on the North Dakota woman (0.708% alcohol level) is wrong as per reference 37. She was found drunk in a stolen car 2 weeks later, not the next day. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:45, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

Units Clarification[edit]

I'm new to this and perhaps overstepped. I noticed some ambiguity, confusion and errors in regard to the units discussed in the first paragraph and corrected them before discovering the "talk" page. First, the article mentioned that the BAC is "unit-less", but then goes on to discuss in detail the many units that may be used to report the BAC measurement. I re-worded to clear up the confusion. The reference to the California Code said California reports BAC in units of grams per milliliter; I corrected that to read the correct grams per 100 milliliters (which is, of course, the same as grams per deciliter). Further, as the article went on to mention the several types of units of measure of blood alcohol and breath alcohol, the same value was used for each unit discussed. I could see how someone might get the impression that .08 grams per deciliter of blood was the same volume as .08 mg/L of breath, so I changed the values to reflect the same volume for each unit of measure mentioned. (i.e., 0.10 g/dL of blood alcohol is the same BAC as 0.476 mg/L of breath alcohol and the same as 0.10 g/210L of breath alcohol). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:10, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

The Fifth Source[edit]

The information from the fifth source on blood alcohol content doesn't add up. I went to the Virginia Tech Page and the table doesn't add up. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:04, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Need for Additional BAC Calculation/Widmark Info[edit]

The section on BAC Calculation needs to be edited and expanded:

There should ba a clear opening statement about BAC being a percentage measurement of ethanol per blood volume of the individual, adjusted for time duration since last consumption.

There should be a clear representation of the Widmark formula, with all its complexities, as well as a simplified analysis of it.

Info about variations on the Widmark formula should be included (e.g.,

Info about Widmark should be included (e.g.,

Info could be included about what challenges may be made to a BAC level in a legal setting (e.g.,

A link to the wikihow on how to determine your BAC might be helpful:

Well, I'd say you're more than welcome to take a crack at it, since you do seem to be someone quite familiar with the subject. Far more so, indeed, than I. (talk) 22:48, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Lack of Context[edit]

Looking over this article from the viewpoint of someone unfamiliar with the topic at hand (ljokjmpokmpokmpokm-okmokmpokmpokmpkmplmplkmpokmpokmpokmokmpokm]]) 01:11, 26 August 2008 (UTC)


After reading the story about the Rhode Island guy --> I got to wondering, what's the highest ever recorded BAC without dying? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:45, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Update Jan 1 2010, an article in the Rapid City Journal in South Dakota reported a story on a woman who possibly set the state BAC level record after testing at a .708, she lived and research by a doctor in South Dakota stated that a .40 would be a lethal dose for 50% of the population. The Article is here - —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:50, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Highest level recorded in Portugal was 7.46gr/l on 16/April/2006, by a 36yo man who crashed in broad daylight onto the back of a car, after a 3km ride, on a motorized 2 wheeler, without an helmet, knocking his head into the ground violently. He left the hospital 2 weeks later, but had since been acting somewhat strangely, and was no longer in possession of his full mental capacities, according to an acquaintance. Ref.: (talk) 15:06, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

China Limit?[edit]

Does China have a BAC limit?

Request for external link addition[edit]

  • I would like to make a formal request to add to the external links section of this page. It is my own website, so I wouldn't like to add it myself, but I would prefer that someone else review the website, and make the decision to add it. It is an interactive BAC calculator that is based on a formula from the US Department of Transportation. --Sugarskane 03:53, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

If you mean underage drivers as in people who aren't old enough to drive this seems odd - like shooting somebody and being charged for excessive noise. Do you mean that drivers below the drinking age have a lower limit (i.e. effectively no alcohol, because they're not supposed to be drinking?

Oddly, underage refers not to driving before the legal age, but drinking before the legal age. Alcohol purchase and posession laws would seem to preclude "underage drinking" and therefore "underage drunken driving."

No, underage drinking isn't illegal, underage purchase and possession is. There's nothing illegal in the US about giving 14-year-olds wine with dinner.

However, states pass laws limiting BAC for underage drunken drivers above 0.0% (often at 0.08%). Perhaps this is a commetary on the legal system's opinion of the baseline capacity of teen drivers.... Less alcohol need be present to define an underage drunken driver as too impared to drive. --BrantEaton

I see what you're getting at, but the phrase underage drunken driving suggests there's a legal age for drunken driving. :) Verloren

Sorry, my hair-splitting implements are all dull from too frequent use :) I'm sure the actual statute utilizes excruciatingly clear language :) I think we'll have to be satisifed that "underage" modifies the phrase "drunken driving," qualifying the activity by considering age. Personal perspective notwithstanding, no explicit suggestion exists indicating inebriated handling of a vehicle is permissible if the operator is above a minimum age. --BrantEaton

On Wikipedia:Peer review, Mike Church expressed POV concerns about the following paragraph (written by him (?)).

"Despite the liberal intoxication limits of many countries, one should not assume that driving with a BAC rating of, say, .079% is safe. At a BAC rating of 0.05%, the probability of a driver having an accident is more than four times its base level. Despite this, some drivers believe their driving actually improves with small amounts of alcohol. This assertion is completely false: Their perception of their driving improves because they are more relaxed, but their actual motor competence is markedly lower than when sober. "

In responding to this concern, I would say: cite your sources, e.g. "Research by Dr. T. Totaller found that a BAC level of 0.05% quadrupled the probability of a driving accident (see references)." I don't think the above paragraph is demonstrates a particularly strong bias, but if anyone does happen to think that, reporting the claims of experts is the way to go.

In terms of giving advice, simply reporting the fact that intoxication increases the odds of an accident is providing information, but not giving advice. If we wrote, "So don't drink and drive, knucklehead," that would be giving advice ;-). -- Cyan 02:25, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I saw this come up on peer review as well. I second Cyan's comments above.

But what I do think would really make this article more approachable is if it used the statitics to show how much a person could drink in the USA and still drive, and how much is believed the affect someone's ability to drive. Eg (with made up figures) "Under American law, an average person may drive after consuming 3 pints of beer (6 units of alcohol), however studies x and y show that the average person's ability to drive is affected after only half a pint of beer (one unit)."

Then, once people have a sense of the amounts involved, you can go on to give the detailed explanation why it's the blood alcohol content which is measured not the number of drinks you've had, and you can't rely on these "average" figures. It might also be interesting to include information on what level of alcohol in the blood is usually fatal, and the highest recorded cases of people exceeding this and survivng (alcoholics may build up a tolerance). Eg [1]. fabiform | talk 23:05, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Maybe the political background for setting a limit should be mentioned. I suspect that the numbers reflect the culture; is alcohol considered "A Bad Thing" (Sweden), are people allowed to take their own responsibility, is a risk acceptable?

I believe that Sweden has a max of 0.02%, not 0%. A limit below 0.02% would mean that driving after eating a piece of ripe fruit constitutes a traffic violation if you're unlucky.

How much alcohol is 'one drink' in milliliters of pure ethanol? Standard sizes of glasses vary wildly between countries. -- Hankwang 16:38, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I reverted gender -> sex, which is indeed correct. Sex is biological, whereas gender is personal identity. I.e. a male -> female transgender would be biologically male, or of male sex, but of female gender. Mike Church 17:41, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Nice article, a few corrections

1 BAC is literally blood alcohol content, not breath alcohol content. The Breathalyzer simply estimates BAC after measuring breath alcohol.

2 Old version Measured with a machine commonly referred to as a Breathalyzer ... BAC is used as an ideally objective (and therefore, legally uncontestable) measure of the level of impairment of an individual,

I changed it because it is literally false. BAC is used as an objective legal proxy for degree of intoxication, which in turn is only a rough guide to degree of impairment. In other words, to enforce the law, the law must be based on something fairly objective and harder to contest (like BAC) rather than something hard to measure objectively (impairment of driving judgement and skill). I think the writer has the right concept but expressed it wrongly.

3 Old version Despite this, some drivers believe their driving actually improves with small amounts of alcohol. This assertion is completely false: their perception of their driving improves because they are more relaxed, but their actual motor competence is markedly lower than when sober.

I changed it because it is again literally false. The perception of his own driving skill deteriorates in accuracy and quality, not improves (in other words the gap between the reality of his skills and his perception of his skills increases). Again, right concept expressed awkwardly.

alteripse 29 apr 04

Whoops. Sorry. I meant to say, with that bit (#3), that their perceived level of competence at driving improves; their actual skills of perception decline, as you said. Mike Church 19:54, 29 Apr 2004 (UTC)

% or mg/ml?[edit]

Our article says that BAC is measured as a percentage by volume, but all the sources I can find on the Web, e.g. this one and this one, say it's measured in milligrams per millilitre (mg/ml) or per hundred millilitres (mg/100ml). However, there are many other writers out there who state BAC as a percentage without saying what it's a percentage of. This distinction matters: since the relative density of ethanol is 0.789 (Wikipedia) and that of blood is about 1.06 (MSN Encarta), the %-by-volume definition is about one-third drunker than the mg/ml definition.

Who thinks I should change the article, and who thinks that it's right as it stands? --Heron 16:32, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)

  • I'm not sure how to answer, but despite the fact that ml is not a weight measure, like mg, that's how the California code is written, at least: "(b) It is unlawful for any person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle. For purposes of this article and Section 34501.16, percent, by weight, of alcohol in a person's blood is based upon grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath."[2]. Seems kinda goofy to calculate based on different types of measures, but I guess it's not really a percentage (at least not "by weight"), despite what they say. I wonder if the discrepancy could be used to challenge a conviction. Niteowlneils 01:40, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC)
It is a good question and one that has come up in the past, hence the way the law is written. California, where I work, states clearly that if a person chooses to have their blood drawn, then they are presumed impaired if their blood alcohol content is 0.08 grams per deciliter, or if they choose to have their breath taken, their breath alcohol content is 0.08 grams per 2100 liters of breath. The law used to be a lot less clear and defense attorneys did, indeed, try to muddy the waters by questioning the correlation between breath and blood alcohol levels. The law was changed so that the presumtion of impairment is based directly on the evidentiary breath test result on its own, and now it is not an acceptable defense to claim that the correlation is inaccurate (though that doesnt prevent defense attorneys from trying).
At any rate, 0.08% is considered to be a "gram percentage," meaning that it approximates 1 gram = 1 milliliter of solution, which is of course not completely accurate, but as long as everybody is using the same definition (grams per deciliter) then it really isn't an issue. (talk) 17:29, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

We have mili-molars, but not mg/dl??? Table should correspond with the information in the Acute alcohol intoxication article for easy comparison. ~~talk —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:23, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

I agree, the units are very confusing, despite devoting an entire section to clear it up, it is still perplexing what the % means. The article also adds to the confusion by switching between various different units frequently. Personally I've decided to just take the percent and multiply it by one hundred to get g/L (grams of alcohol/litres of blood. ie) 0.05% --> 5 g/L (talk) 17:53, 19 September 2013 (UTC)


Re: "Despite the liberal intoxication limits of many countries, one should not assume that driving with a BAC rating of, say, .079 is as safe as driving while sober. At a BAC rating of 0.05, the probability of a driver having an accident is more than four times its base level. Despite this, some drivers believe their driving actually improves with small amounts of alcohol. This assertion is false, because their ability to accurately judge the quality of their driving (measured by actual motor competence) deteriorates."

This seems somewhat POV to me, at least in tone. It sounds like someone from MADD wrote this, especially the italicized "four times." I think it should be tweaked or at least footnoted with some solid sources.

Def should be, seems to be a POV agaisnt alcohol. -- (talk) 09:05, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, yeah. This entire article sounds like it was written by MADD, but who else is going to bother to write a page on BAC? Anyway, you can't really say that paragraph has any POV problems because it is entirely true. It just comes across a little strong, which always happens when discussing drunk driving because it seems nearly everyone has lost a friend or relative to that type of accident. (talk) 23:03, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Clear Up a Little Confusion[edit]

In the table that lists the number of alcoholic beverages and its affects, what unit of time would that go under? Within a day? Within an hour? I mean, five drinks in a stretched amount of time doesn't have the same affect is it does within a shorter time period.

I agree, the table says:

12 Drinks=.30-.40% BAC=Loss of consciousness

I'd like to see good solid evidence of this, a BAC of .3 to .4 can cause a loss of consciousness, but only 12 drinks to get there is a little extreme. I'm 6' and weigh 272lb, 250lb when training. During a Sunday football game, I used to consume about a 12-pack, since their is usually a double header, I might end up drinking 24 beers. If what the chart says is correct, then by the end of the first game, I should have had a BAC of .30 and be out. The highest my BAC ever has been was .45, after drinking an entire bottle of Jack Daniels. As a recovering alcoholic, I have a little experience here. Maybe there should be a time on the chart as well. -cplradar

I think it'd better to have an expanded table between the typical BAC and its affects; I found this site that describes several levels and a fairly detailed explainations [3]

My360pi 22:29, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

You done't say what your condition was at .45% but speaking from some experience, the bigger you are the more you will need to drink. Here are some examples I've had experience with. While training others, we give subjects measured amounts of alcohol and measure their BrAC (Breath Alcohol Content) For a large male (270lbs) the scale given is very close, meaning a 6-pack in 2 hours will mean approximately .07% BrAC. For an average size male (185lbs) about .09% BrAC. Everyone is different, just like fingerprints. Fingerprints are all fingerprint though. Scientists hypothesis with averages to make sense of things and test them. I still don't get (1g of alcohol per 100/ml breath by volume.) I know the breath machines, any of them, are weighted towards the subject providing the sample. In my experience, blood tested comes back with a higher BAC than BrAC on the same person. An alcoholic will metabolize the alcohol faster as the body is adapting to the constant presents of alcohol. An alcoholic was arrested and gave a sample that read 0.28% BrAC. 4-hours later, he gave another sample that read 0.18 BrAC. An average drinker would have been around .25% BrAC after 4-hours. An alcoholic can also function with larger amounts of alcohol and as the addiction sets in, need more and more to satisfy it. An elderly lady (83) had a breath alcohol of .37% BrAC with normal function. I have never seen any readings over .25% BrAC that the person could even stand unless they were a heavy drinker. Gobil527 (talk) 22:48, 15 July 2008 (UTC)Gibbs, K

Alcoholics can build up an impressive alcohol resistance. That Bulgerian man would be the penultimate case, but I've seen a person at .51 standing upright and talking (and one at .64 who recovered without intervention).

Greece BAC[edit]

There is conflicting info on the BAC in Greece.

The ICAP report I have linked to below says the legal BAC to drive in Greece is 0.5mg/ml, which is 0.05% (w/w)

including units[edit]

As discussed in this page, there are several units for BAC. Could we please either tidy up the usage of units through the article, or better, fully state the units at every usage. For instance. The section "Effect at different levels" gives no units other that "%". Although the units section does say that just "%" on its own means % w/w, g/100g isn't the only one measured in %, and since the difference between the % units is a power of 10, it can be quite confusing. It also standard that if you use a %, you state whether you mean w/w, w/v, or v/v.

If nothing else, can we change it from saying something like "0.50%" in every row to "0.5" in the row and adding "% (g/100g)" or "% w/w" to the column header cell.

Personally, I think that since ICAP uses mg/ml as a standard unit, that should be the unit used whenever possible through the article. Here's an example ICAP report. The units through it are mg/ml as seen in the table of BAC's legal to drive in different countries. --KX36 12:01, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Limits for US bus drivers[edit]

  • Countries with a 0.08% limit include Republic of Ireland, the United States[1] and Canada.[2] In the United States, operators of common carriers, such as buses, are restricted to a 0.10% limit, and the Federal Aviation Regulations governing U.S. pilots prohibit operation of an aircraft within eight hours of consumption or while having as little as 0.04 percent of alcohol by weight in the blood.[3] For further information on US laws, see Alcohol laws of the United States by state.

So bus operators are allowed more alcohol than private drivers?? Mtford 22:11, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Well, they do have more training... Bumblebritches57 (talk) 14:17, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

UK limit[edit]

I have moved the UK back into the 0.08% bracket from 0.05%. I also added Malta and Luxembourgh. I don't know why the UK was moved to 0.05%. (Ajkgordon 10:09, 20 March 2007 (UTC))

France limit[edit]

Interesting one. The limit is 0.08% for an outright ban but there are punishments for 0.05% to 0.08% also, i.e. six points and a fine. I'll see if I can add some text with an English reference. (Ajkgordon 10:09, 20 March 2007 (UTC))

information on actual meaning of BAC and intoxication[edit]

I came to wikipedia looking to see if BAC is precisely correlated with intoxication level; i.e., that if someone's BAC is higher than it should be due to taking a drug that slows ingestion as mentioned in the article, resulting in a higher BAC, has the drug actually caused greater intoxication (impairment of motor skills, etc.)? Or has the drug simply elevated the BAC but the person is no more affected by the alcohol than if he had not taken the medication?

Some info would help clarify. 02:59, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Weight vs. Blood Volume[edit]

What theoretical or experimental evidence is there for the generally accepted belief that blood alcohol concentration is inversely proportional to weight (W)? Why isn't blood alcohol concentration inversely proportional to blood volume (V)? That's not equivalent, because experimental evidence shows that V is proportional to W2/3 (Dreyer & Ray, "The Blood Volume of Mammals as Determined by Experiments upon Rabbits, Guinea-Pigs, and Mice, and Its Relationship to the Body Weight and to the Surface Area Expressed in a Formula", Proc. Royal Society of London, pp. 82:558(545-546), 1910).

Table contains gaps[edit]

Perhaps it might be useful to fill in the gaps that exist in the table--there's some interesting ground between 0.03 and 0.10, including the US legal limit.

Merge proposal[edit]

Red Zone (Intoxication) appears to be a subtopic of this article and should either be merged into this article or deleted as non-notable and original research. JonHarder talk 17:39, 2 June 2007 (UTC)


  • There appears to be no interest to merge. I have prodded the other article. We'll see what happens. JonHarder talk 17:59, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Is this actually correct?[edit]

I must have been eight times the drink drive limit on many occasions, and if anything my judgement was improved! Certainly not dead or unconcious. 11:45, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

It's not uncommon for people with very high levels of alcohol intoxication to think their judgment is improved when it is, in fact, severely impaired. After all, if your judgment is impaired, and your judgment is what you use to determine how impaired your judgment is, then how can you trust your subjective observation?
I've seen people literally too drunk to stand up insisting that they're perfectly fine to drive. (talk) 17:36, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
The article does seem to contradict itself though - it states ≥ 0.50 is lethal, but mentions cases of people surviving nearly ten times that. (talk) 09:52, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

"The following formula..."[edit]

How is this in any way remotely helpful?

1 g/kg = 1 g kg-1 = 1 g/L = 100mg/dL = 1 mg/cc = 100 mg% = 1 decigrams% = 0.1 g% = 0.1% = 1 ‰

Something like this needs elaboration, it can't just be stuck into an article by itself and expected to be understood by the general readership. DMCer (talk) 11:02, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

First paragraph[edit]

The first paragraph says that BAC is usually measured as mass / volume. However the example given says .02 grams (a unit of mass) over 100 grams (another unit of mass). Which one is it? Ce1984 (talk) 00:55, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Just revisiting this page and noticed that an attempt has been made to clear this up. However, in the examples given, the article gives two measurements, both in percentages, and seems to say that one is supposed to be read as by mass and one is to be read a by volume. Givin the identical (if ambiguous) notation for both figures, this seems misleading and nonsensical. Surely we can come up with something better? The second paragraph mentions that the difference between the two is of minimal consequence; perhaps this should be included in the article prior to or simultaneously with the discussion of notation. Ce1984 (talk) 01:00, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Table of effects, OK below 0.03%[edit]

Given that FAA rules allow commercial airline pilots to fly at up to 0.039%, this article’s table should be revised. I see that it is based on Virginia Tech data, but to say that a BAC of 0.01% causes impairments is ludicrous and comes across as just another example of the mentality that brought about Reefer Madness. Wikipedia’s table should incorporate data from other sources. I suggest a good starting place is the FAA’s take on on the subject (Federal Aviation Regulation (CFR) 91.17, Table 2, here). The FAA’s binned values overlap, but by interpolating, it effectivly states that at BAC values of <0.03%, the “average individual appears normal” and does not suffer from impaired judgement or other ill effects. No legitimate case can be made here for simply parroting data from a single source if that data flies in the face of common sense (like impairment at 0.01%). That’s horse crap. Cautions to young people on the effects of alchohol must be factual to be credible. Greg L (my talk) 04:55, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

UPDATE: Having not received a response to this, I took the liberty of bifurcating the low-end binned value of 0.01–0.06 into two ranges: 0.01–0.029, and 0.03–0.059. Further, I described the effects of the lowest binned range per Federal Aviation Regulation (CFR) 91.17, Table 2. Lumping the effects of 0.01 or 0.02 into the same impairment as 0.06 was no good at all. Really, the Virginia Tech data is a for-student Web site to caution young adults about the hazards of drinking; it is hardly an authortative, scientific source on alcohol’s effect on the human central nervous system. If I cared more about this issue and hard more time, I'd find an NIH site or something similar. Simply bifurcating “0.01–0.06” will do for the moment. Greg L (my talk) 03:05, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

my first attempt at responding...please be gentle...your statement that a commercial pilot can fly at .039 is is actually .019...from .02 to .039 there CAN be a waiting period to get down to .019 before he/she can fly....if the pilot is not fired on the spot or sent to .04 the pilot's license is permantley revoked by the FAA. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wikiboating (talkcontribs) 01:01, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

A comment on the table, the wording is not consistent, in the near future I will fix this. I'm referring to how, under the Impairment column, the format changes, listing things like "judgment" and "staggering" in the same context, as if, say, alcohol caused your staggering to become impaired. Will fix, to do. (talk) 05:17, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

It may not be completely consistent, but it is cited from an external source. If we change the wording, then we are changing the findings of the external source, which I think is a bit of a gray area. On the whole, though, I don't think the table as it stands now is unclear. Comments? (talk) 22:46, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Per Volume[edit]

"It is usually measured as mass per volume. For example, a BAC of 0.02% means 0.2 ‰ (permille) or 0.02 grams of alcohol per 100 grams of individual's blood, or 0.2 grams of alcohol per 1000 grams of blood." (first paragraph)

This is a bad example because the gram ("per 100 grams") is a unit of mass, not a unit of volume. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:02, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Also, The summary at the beginning describes "volume per volume" yet the "Units of measurement" section indicates "never volume per volume". (talk) 21:20, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

Yup. – Acdx (talk) 18:07, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Carbonated reference?[edit]

The article states: "Alcohol in non-carbonated beverages is absorbed more slowly than alcohol in carbonated drinks." Is there any evidence for this and an explanation of the body physiology as to why that is the case? (talk) 11:28, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Table for legal limits of BAC[edit]

The table containing different countries' legal BAC limits is a bit confusing. Do the "general" lines not specifying a specific country belong to the country that is listed above them? Since they are not general rules applying to all countries I would guess so, but the table could be made clearer. An example of this would be the line "• learner drivers and provisional/probationary drivers". I am suggesting to maybe remove the dividing line between these items, to show that they belong together. (talk) 16:10, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Canadian Limit[edit]

The Canadian legal BAC is .05, .08 is simply a more serious offense. I just don't know where it says this, I know it because I got pulled over. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:31, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

The 0.05 limit is at the provincial level and varies between provinces. Some don't even have an offence for driving over 0.05. You'll likely find it in each province's Traffic Safety Act or their equivalent thereof. The 0.08 limit is set by the Criminal Code and therefore applicable everywhere. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:11, 16 December 2009 (UTC) (talk) 03:05, 13 November 2008 (UTC)No you are wrong, its 0.08, but if you are acting dangerously at any amount they will fine you. (talk) 03:05, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Dangerous driving and careless driving are different offences from impaired/over 0.08. While they may fine you for careless driving, you can get a sentence of imprisonment for dangerous driving.

You might be thinking of driving impaired rather than acting or driving dangerously. Driving impaired doesn't mean you are driving dangerously (within the meaning of that section of the Criminal Code). Rather, driving impaired means specifically that an individual's ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired to any degree at all. So there is no requirement that an individual be driving dangerously per say as long as they have some impairment of their ability to operate a motor vehicle. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:27, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

It varies by province. In Ontario, the limit is 0.08, with 0.05-0.079 being a "WARN" status that gives the police the discretion to impound your vehicle on the roadside for up to 24 hours, but which doesn't carry criminal charges. This is verifiable in the driver's handbook published by the Ontario MOT. (talk) 06:55, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

In Quebec, new drivers can't have any alcohol in their blood if they have their learner's permit (can't drive alone) or their "permis probatoire" (French, I don't know how it's called in English, you can drive alone with it but have only 4 points of demerit and no tolerance to alcohol). I am 100% sure of what I am saying, however someone should look for sources as the article stated that it was dubious. The SAAQ website might be a good place. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:16, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Unknown word[edit]

None of my dictionaries define "jamee", used in the second sentence: "It is usually measured as jamee mass per volume.". Could somebody knowledgeable please fix this? Robsavoie (talk) 17:44, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Severe Euphoria[edit]

What is severe euphoria, is it a real word? (talk) 03:06, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

It's grammatically correct. Implies euphoria beyond what one would consider "standard" euphoria. However the wording itself is goofy, in my opinion. Were it me I would say "heigtened euphoria" or "irrational euphoria." Jersey John (talk) 17:30, 16 February 2009 (UTC) just my $0.02

It's relative[edit]

Everyone is so focused on the weight of a TINY woman. A 90 pound woman getting a 0.30 is unbelievable? BAC is RELATIVE. It is a measure that gives a pretty much absolute number by dividing out relative numbers against each other. All the things that apply to a 90 pound woman with a 0.30 also apply to a 400 pound man with a 0.30 rating. The only thing that differs is their weights. And, as a consequence, the numbers of drinks they've had. With a 0.30, both the woman and the man are "just as drunk" in most cases...

Of course, news agencies always use that fact. Because most of the general population doesn't seem to get this. It sounds much more impressive to have a 90 pound woman blow a 0.30 than a 400 pound man. But, really, there's NO DIFFERENCE. And, in this way, the news agencies keep contributing to the ignorance. (talk) 23:58, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Breast milk[edit]

No description of the correlation between BAC and the alcohol level in breast milk? Josh Parris 06:12, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

Equality of Units[edit]

Why measure some BrAC values in 100 mcg/100 mL and some in 1000mcg/1000mL (@ 'Limits by country')? Equality of units! I changed it a couple of days ago, but then someone came along and reverted it, saying: "It's not constructive." It may indeed be not the most constructive of edits, but it's useful and an improvement. The so-called 'anti-vandalism' gestapo should have its limits.

Errr, yes, sorry about that mate. I didn't mean to offend and have no problem with your edits. I accidentally mistook it as vandalism.I will happily remove the warning, and please accept a full apology.--Acather96 (talk) 22:03, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Heh, ok. No problem, apology accepted! Keep up the good work. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:26, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Lack of consistency makes this article confusing[edit]

I found this article highly confusing to read. I have only just started to read it and already I am confused by

1. A statemment in the header which clearly indicates that Blood alcohol content is abbreviated as BAC but then later the article talks about Breath alcohol content (a different measure) also using the abbreviation BAC. If both acronyms are used by different authorities around the world, then this article SHOULD NOT use either acronym as it is confusing to the reader. If there is an internationally agreed alternate abbreviation nomenclature that avoids this, then the article should use that abbreviation nomenclature instead. It would be a simple matter to include a table indicating what usually BAC means in each country if there is a standard interpretation in each nation.

2. The header begins by saying that blood alcohol content is usually measured using ONE method, but then it goes on to show that blood alcohol content is actually measured in a variety of ways. This is very unhelpful to the reader as we do not know what "usually" means. My immediate inclination was to remove the reference to "usually" and simply explain that there is a multitude of measurements in the field and explain briefly what they are (at least in the header section).

3. There is a table that gives BAC as a percentage! This presumable is meaningless without a clue as to whether this is the ethanol percentage by WEIGHT or by VOLUME. These figues cannot be the same unless blood and alcohol have the same density (which I very much doubt).

I am assuming that there is broad equivalence between these different measures. A conversion table from one unit to the other would be useful.

Comments please!--Hauskalainen (talk) 10:18, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Agree with all of these. The article is very confusing. – Acdx (talk) 18:05, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Factor of 10 and BAC definition[edit]

If 1 drink contains 20-30ml of alcohol (2-3 uk units), and a typical person has 5000ml (5L) of blood that's 0.5% alcohol vol. per blood vol.

According to the charts this is severe intoxication, after just 1 typical drink!

This is approximately 10 times higher than I would have expected, after 1 drink.

I suspect the resolution is that the BAC given in the charts is not strictly the unitless percentage as stated at the top of the article, but in fact g/kg, ml/L or g/L, or something similar. If so it should be made much clearer that the % number is not representing anything like the true volume fraction of alcohol in the blood, but something closer to 1/10 of the volume fraction. i.e. 0.02 '%' BAC is actually 0.2% true volume i.e. 0.2 in every 100 ml of your blood is alcohol.

If I am correct the BAC % given in the tables this should be labelled according to it's definition e.g. 100*ml/L, not simply %.

The only other resolution i can see is if only approximatley 10% of alcohol consumed reaches the bloodstream. In which case this should be stated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lawrie.skinner (talkcontribs) 16:28, 4 June 2010 (UTC)


I reached a similar conclusion regarding a missing "10:1 factor". In the article there is a section that suggests the BAC can be calculated directly as a percentage of body water, i.e alcohol consumed divided by body water content. For example 40 ml of alcohol weighs approximately 32 grams, and for a man of 70 kg with body water content of 58% the BAC calculation is: (100 x 32/40600) or 0.079% w/w. Since water (SG =1) is used in the calculation, percentage w/v would yield a similar numerical result. A man of 70kg has typically 6 liters of blood (SG = 1.06) and blood is 70% water. Therefore the water contained in the blood is (6 x 1.06 x 70/100) = 4.452 kg. This represents 11% of the total body water and the alcohol in blood on a pro-rata basis, is (32 X 11/100) = 3.52 gram. The BAC is 100*(3.52/6000)= 0.059% w/v As an engineer I would probably split the difference of the 2 results and show the BAC as 0.07 +/- 0.01 % w/v. The ratio of water in blood to total body water provides a reasonable explanation for the missing 10:1 factor. Comments from someone with a background in physiology/anatomy would be useful. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:51, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Whiskey Dick[edit]

should this term appear in this article? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:52, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Not really. – Acdx (talk) 18:06, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Rate of Alcohol Metabolism... Underestimated?[edit]

I've seen the .15-.20 (g/dl/h) metabolism rate around the internet, in addition to the approximate "One standard drink an hour" which falls in that rate, but I've never seen a source.


Differences in the Rate of Ethanol Metabolism in Recently Drinking Alcoholic and Nondrinking Subjects

Am J Clin Nutr 1969 22: 1608-1617

(which can be found here )

seems to put the average for light drinkers at 25 mg/(100 ml)/hr or 0.025 g / dl /hr and roughly .05g/dl/hr for alcoholics!

Is the conventional wisdom wrong? or is this just an statistical outlier? I'm not a biologist or statistician so I don't know.

Should the page be updated to reflect this study, or are there other more reputable studies that give the lower rate?

EDIT: I then found this study from Germany that seems to put the average around the .015 mark. Now I'm just confused. (talk) 22:49, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

Metabolism inconsistency[edit]

"The relative proportion disposed of in each way varies from person to person, but typically about 92 to 98% is metabolised, 10% is excreted in urine,[24] and 1 to 5% evaporates through the breath."

^-- Actually... 92% + 10% + 1% = 103%... There is something wrong... Maybe the metabolism is 82% to 88%?

Please double-check! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:25, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

US Legal Limits[edit]

So the Legal Limit table is certainly a great idea, but it is extremely misleading regarding at the least the United States. Yes, there is some mention of the variation between states, but I am unaware of a state that does not allow a DUI conviction at 0.05% (technically, a conviction can come at 0.0% at least in some states, even if it is only alcohol).

Yes, I am aware that the phrase 'legal limits' is used, possibly implying the upper most limit, but such a term is misleading at best, and possibly dangerous.

In the case of the United States, I therefore suggest it should be clearly stated that the offense of driving while intoxicated is committed when a driver's BAC meets or exceeds 0.08%, but that in many (most?) states, the same offense is committed when a driver tests at 0.05%, along with other evidence, such as a failed Field Sobriety Test.

I generally dislike being this picky, but the misleading term 'legal limit' really could be dangerous under these circumstances. Snideology (talk) 21:41, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

BAC "Records"[edit]

Lists a person who the police presume to have consumed 10-14 drinks (less than a bottle of hard liquor!) in 1-2 hours... and consider the highest living BAC they've ever seen. What gives? Any cop who has been dispatched on any single given domestic disturbance or hooliganism by minors call is more likely than not to encounter one or more persons who have had more drinks in the last hour or two! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:13, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

Highest recorded blood alcohol level/content[edit]

"There have been reported cases of blood alcohol content higher than 1.00. In March 2009, a 45-year-old man was admitted to the hospital in Skierniewice, Poland, after being struck by a car. The blood test showed blood alcohol content at 1.23. The man survived but did not remember either the accident or the circumstances of his alcohol consumption"

No "In March 2009" but "In December 2004" -,20,18797889,18797889,Wiadomosc_z_RMF_PAP_12_3_promila_alkoholu_we_krwi.html?v=2 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:47, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

"Serum alcohol concentration is not equal to nor calculated in the same way as blood alcohol content" Anyone want to elaborate on/clarify this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:51, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Maybe someone should elaborate on why that list has an over-representation of people from Poland. :P -- œ 04:38, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

Highest BAC - Wroclaw man[edit]

Could someone explain why this was removed?

In 1995, a man in Wrocław, Poland, had a car accident. At the hospital, his BAC was determined to be 1.48%. Concerned that their equipment was malfunctioning, doctors also performed five separate lab tests, all of which confirmed the man's blood alcohol content. He died a few days later from wounds from the car accident. Police were baffled as to how an individual could attain such a high blood alcohol. Later, police discussions with his brother in-law revealed that he had "beer bonged" pure grain alcohol allegedly stolen from his place of work, a chemical plant.[46]

Dforest (talk) 08:12, 20 May 2014 (UTC)

Error in EBAC formula[edit]

The current EBAC formula in the text is a misunderstanding of reference 5 written at a Swedish university. In Sweden a standard drink is 12g alcohol not 10g as in USA. So naturally the Swedish authors had to adjust the standard Widmark formula by multiplying the number of standard drinks with 12/10 = 1.2. So if the standard drink is 10g the formula should not include this multiplication with 1.2. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:35, 12 October 2014 (UTC)

Micrograms vs milligrams[edit]

The law in Israel is 240 micrograms per liter of air (or 50 milligrams per 100ml of blood), not milligrams. Math probably needs to be checked. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:22, 3 April 2015 (UTC)


I'm going to remove the "Definitions" section as it's confusing and contradictory. Most of what it seems to be trying to say is already covered in other sections. Kendall-K1 (talk) 18:36, 13 April 2016 (UTC)

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Estimated blood alcohol content by intake[edit]

Are you sure the formula is correct for this one? I've tried using it several times, but every time I've done so, multiplying it by 10 at the end seems to produce the wrong result. Leaving it without multiplying seems to produce far more reasonable results. Please double check it. (talk) 22:30, 5 August 2018 (UTC)

Testing techniques[edit]

We may need to add a section to the article. Serum vs plasma vs whole blood analysis can have levels vary approximately 10-15%. This can be relevant to legal or academic matters. MartinezMD (talk) 14:31, 25 October 2019 (UTC) eg: