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What is BAC?

Anyone who drinks alcohol should know what is BAC. However, not everyone understands its meaning or impact on the human body. We explain some important information about BAC below.

 

What is BAC?

BAC stands for Blood Alcohol Content and is the industry terminology describing the percentage of alcohol present in an individual’s bloodstream at a particular point in time. It is the key variable that determines whether law enforcement can legally arrest a driver for impairment.

However, many people overlook its importance for doctors and health practitioners to properly assess their patients. One major example is developing strategies to treat and prevent alcohol abuse.

Standardised BAC tests enable law enforcement and medical professionals–as well as concerned individuals–to objectively estimate the level of a person’s alcohol intoxication. Put simply, the higher the BAC number, the greater the impairment.

 

What affects BAC?

The reason why one becomes “tipsy” relatively quickly is due to how the human body absorbs alcohol. Everyone’s absorption rate is roughly the same.

We tend to forget how quickly blood travels through the bloodstream. A good indicator of the frequency at which blood is re-oxygenated is our breathing rate. After all, alcohol reaches the bloodstream very quickly. It is absorbed through the intestinal and then the vascular walls within seconds. This is due to the process of osmosis. When one takes this into account, it should be no surprise that BAC content stabilizes and can be accurately measured at around 15 minutes after any alcohol intake. It’s imperative to understand that BAC absorption and metabolic tolerance are mutually exclusive.

The degree of impairment depends on the individual’s age, weight, gender and metabolism. However, it also includes  food consumption during the period of time when the individual was drinking. Furthermore, the rate of consumption and total time committed to drinking have a profound effect when it comes to determining impairment.

In retrospect, impairment can not be quantified to the same degree as BAC. This explains the implementation of universal impairment tests by law enforcement. Common examples include touching one’s nose whilst walking in a straight line.

While breathalysers provide substantial enough evidence to arrest a driver, it is still not the official means of determining BAC. Nonetheless, it will sometimes suffice in legal proceedings, provided the results are jarringly above the legal limit.

 

How to measure BAC

Three tests are among the industry standard of measuring blood alcohol content. While the gold standard is blood testing; it requires a trained professional to perform the intravenous extraction. A blood test provides the best results but is the least appealing to consumers because it is unpleasant and entails an inevitable wait time for lab results.

Urine tests come in at a close second for accurately measuring BAC. While they are more convenient than a blood test, they still require technicians or nurse practitioners, and a drug testing kit or lab to test for the results.

Ultimately, the most practical form of BAC testing is alcohol breath testing. Unlike blood tests, it can be done instantly and painlessly. Best of all, results can be obtained immediately after the test.

 

Your BAC Tipping Point

The single most important number for any driver is 0.05.  In Australia, this is the legal limit of alcohol percentage in the bloodstream when operating a motor vehicle. In other words, one is in violation of the law if they have more than 50 milligrams of alcohol content for every 100 ml of blood. Even the slightest deviation over the limit can ultimately land you behinds bars.

Thus, it is crucial to ensure that you never surpass the limit. After all, you don’t want to let a police officer do this for you. As mentioned previously, your BAC level rises as soon as you’ve ingested any sort of alcoholic beverage.

There is still a widespread misunderstanding of what is the BAC limit; it has nothing to do with the number itself. Many people are unaware that one’s BAC peaks at around half an hour to one hour after they have finished consuming alcohol. Regardless of whether or not your breath test indicates whether you’ve surpassed a BAC over %0.05, you’re still eligible to receive a DUI offence.

Driving under the influence is one of the most regrettable mistakes one can ever make. Ultimately, you are the only one who is responsible for familiarising yourself with your personal drinking limits.

Law enforcement uses the same grade of handheld fuel cell devices as the ones that Andatech provides for all consumers. Since they use the exact same technology, you can be assured that you get the exact same degree of accuracy as a real roadside test. It’s no wonder that high quality Andatech breathalyzers are the best preventative measure.

 

 

Also read: What is a Standard Drink?

 


Christina Cini

Christina has a very technical background, and is a very skilled Quality Assurance Manager/ Technician. With her degree in Mechatronics Engineering, she is able to apply her field of studies to her current occupation, also providing a better understanding into our more technical blog posts such as calibration, maintenance of your device, as well as sensors.