If you’ve ever read a news article that said a drunk driver was double or triple the legal limit and wondered exactly what that meant, you’re not alone. Although the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) before you can be arrested for drunk driving is .08 in all provinces of Canada, there’s a huge misconception about what that means for the driver and what that means in terms of getting arrested.
Blood alcohol concentration or BAC refers to how intoxicated the driver is and is used by police to measure impairment. How impaired one person gets after drinking alcohol can vary from how impaired someone else because of body size and alcohol tolerance levels, but BAC is one of the tried and true ways law enforcement prosecute against drunk driving in court.
The .08 blood alcohol concentration means someone is legally too drunk to drive, but many people register well over .08 when stopped for impaired driving. Having a high BAC doesn’t just mean you’re too drunk to drive—the higher your BAC, the more likely you’ll suffer from alcohol poisoning, black outs, and death.
One recent case in Newfoundland had a driver arrested for DUI with a BAC of 5 ½ times the legal limit. That comes in at .44, and unbelievably the man was still alive and ready to drive. Having .40 blood alcohol content is considered lethal for most adults.
If you want to lower your BAC after drinking, you’ll have to wait it out. Coffee, cold showers, and eating greasy food won’t help, but time will. For each drink of alcohol you consume, you’ll have to wait approximately 2 hours for your liver to process it. That’s why some people might wake up after sleeping off a night of drinking, assume they’re safe to drive, then end up getting charged with impaired driving.
Now that you know the ins and outs of BAC, remember: if you don’t want to have to worry about your BAC when you’re out drinking, hand the keys over to someone else.