Lower Blood Alcohol Concentration Can Impair Driving Ability

In Texas, and most other states, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration is 0.08%. If a driver’s BAC is above this level, the law presumes that he or she is too drunk to drive.

However, having a BAC level below the legal limit does not necessarily mean that it is safe and legal to drive. According to PsyCom, even lower BAC levels can impair driving ability.

Impairment with a BAC of 0.08%

With a BAC of 0.08%, vision may decrease and reaction time may slow. This level of alcohol can impair perception and reasoning. Controlling the vehicle’s speed becomes more difficult.

Impairment with a BAC of 0.05%

A BAC of 0.05% can affect coordination and make steering the vehicle more difficult. It can slow eye movement, information processing and reaction time. Deeming these impairments to be unreasonably dangerous, the state of Utah has lowered its legal limit to 0.05%, and other states have considered measures that would do the same.

For example, according to MLive, the Michigan state legislature introduced a bill in 2019 that would follow Utah’s lead and lower the legal blood alcohol limit to 0.05%. It did not pass, but state legislatures could still consider similar bills in the future.

Impairment with a BAC of 0.02%

When BAC is at 0.02%, a driver may feel relaxed, perhaps too much so to concentrate on the task of driving. It can impair judgment and affect the ability to multitask, a vital skill for operating a motor vehicle safely.

BAC depends on many different circumstances, including body type, food intake and weight. This makes it nearly impossible to assess BAC subjectively while one is drinking. Furthermore, BAC is only one factor that authorities use to determine the impairment of driving ability. If other factors are present, a driver could face DWI charges even if his or her blood alcohol concentration is below the legal limit of 0.08%.

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