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Alcohol 1

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Alcohol
With alcohol consumption, a drunk driver's level of intoxication is typically determined by a measurement of blood alcohol content or BAC; but this can also be expressed as a breath test measurement, often referred to as a BrAC. A BAC or BrAC measurement in excess of the specific threshold level, such as 0.08%, defines the criminal offense with no need to prove impairment. In some jurisdictions, there is an aggravated category of the offense at a higher BAC level, such as 0.12%, 0.15% or 0.25%. In many jurisdictions, police officers can conduct field tests of suspects to look for signs of intoxication. The US state of Colorado has a maximum blood content of THC for drivers who have consumed cannabis, but it has been difficult to enforce.

In some countries, it is measured and known in gram per blood liter, with 0.5 g/L similar to a 0.05% rate, other use per mille (per thousand sign) with 0.5‰ = 0.05%.

Blood alcohol content
Drinking enough alcohol to cause a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.03–0.12% typically causes a flushed, red appearance in the face and impaired judgment and fine muscle coordination. A BAC of 0.09% to 0.25% causes lethargy, sedation, balance problems and blurred vision. A BAC from 0.18% to 0.30% causes profound confusion, impaired speech (e.g., slurred speech), staggering, dizziness and vomiting. A BAC from 0.25% to 0.40% causes stupor, unconsciousness, anterograde amnesia, vomiting and respiratory depression (potentially life-threatening). A BAC from 0.35% to 0.80% causes a coma (unconsciousness), life-threatening respiratory depression and possibly fatal alcohol poisoning. There are a number of factors that affect when your BAC will reach or exceed 0.08, including how much you weigh the time frame that you been drinking and if you ate within the time of drinking. A 170 lbs male can drink more than a 135 lbs female, before being over the BAC level. 

A breathalyzer is a device for estimating BAC from a breath sample. It was developed by inventor Robert Frank Borkenstein and registered as a trademark in 1954, but many people use the term to refer to any generic device for estimating blood alcohol content. With the advent of a scientific test for BAC, law enforcement regimes moved from sobriety tests (e.g., asking the suspect to stand on one leg) to having more than a prescribed amount of blood alcohol content while driving. However, this does not preclude the simultaneous existence and use of the older subjective tests in which police officers measure the intoxication of the suspect by asking them to do certain activities or by examining their eyes and responses. BAC is most conveniently measured as a simple percent of alcohol in the blood by weight. Research shows an exponential increase of the relative risk for a crash with a linear increase of BAC as shown in the illustration. BAC does not depend on any units of measurement. In Europe, it is usually expressed as milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. However, 100 milliliters of blood weighs essentially the same as 100 milliliters of water, which weighs precisely 100 grams. Thus, for all practical purposes, this is the same as the simple dimensionless BAC measured as a percent. The per mille (promille) measurement, which is equal to ten times the percentage value, is used in Denmark, Germany, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Depending on the jurisdiction, BAC may be measured by police using three methods: blood, breath, or urine. For law enforcement purposes, breath is the preferred method, since results are available almost instantaneously. The validity of the testing equipment/methods and mathematical relationships for the measurement of breath and blood alcohol have been criticized. Improper testing and equipment calibration is often used in defense of a DUI or DWI. There have been cases in Canada where officers have come upon a suspect who is unconscious after an accident and officers have taken a blood sample.

Driving while consuming alcohol may be illegal within a jurisdiction. In some it is illegal for an open container of an alcoholic beverage to be in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle or in some specific area of that compartment. There have been cases of drivers being convicted of a DUI when they were not observed driving after being proven in court they had been driving while under the influence.

In the case of an accident, car insurance may be automatically declared invalid for the intoxicated driver, i.e. the drunk driver is fully responsible for damages. In the American system, a citation for driving under the influence also causes a major increase in car insurance premiums.

The German model serves to reduce the number of accidents by identifying unfit drivers and removing them from until their fitness to drive has been established again. The Medical Psychological Assessment (MPA) works for a prognosis of the fitness for drive in future, has an interdisciplinary basic approach and offers the chance of individual rehabilitation to the offender.

George Smith, a London Taxi cab driver, ended up being the first person to be convicted of driving while intoxicated, on September 10, 1897. He was fined 25 shillings, which is equivalent to £139 in 2018.

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