When drivers get behind the wheel, most of them know that they could face DUI charges if they get pulled over and their blood alcohol content is .08 or higher. However, the tricky part is knowing when someone has reached that limit.
Alcohol affects people in different ways. Various factors affect how the body absorbs and metabolizes alcohol, which means that there is not a set number of drinks that someone can drink before they could face charges.
Body composition makes a difference
The University of Notre Dame, Student Well-Being McDonald Center discusses that gender and body composition play a large role in reaching the legal BAC limit. Higher weight and lower body fat generally mean someone can drink more, which are two reasons why women get drunk quicker than men. Males also have more alcohol dehydrogenase in their stomachs, which helps break down alcohol.
Food and drink affect the absorption
People who have food and water in their stomachs before and during drinking tend to reach a .08 BAC at a slower rate. Drinking slower is better than taking shots or shotgunning a beer. The strength of the drink also increases how fast BAC levels go up.
Physical, medical and emotional health plays a role
When someone is physically tired, the rate that the liver eliminates alcohol slows down, which causes the individual to reach the legal limit faster. Illness also results in a higher BAC, which is usually due to dehydration. The medication also affects how your body responds to alcohol. In fact, some medications can be dangerous when taken in conjunction with alcohol.
Emotional factors also affect the speed of intoxication. Certain emotions alter the enzymes in the stomach, which interferes with alcohol digestion. Drinking, in turn, can also exaggerate emotions.
Because of the various factors affecting how alcohol processes through the body, it is smart for everyone to arrange for alternate transportation, even if an individual is not planning on drinking very much.