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Drunk Driving Facts: BAC Charts

Updated on December 4, 2013
Drunk driving pictures:  not a pretty sight, huh?
Drunk driving pictures: not a pretty sight, huh? | Source

Learn the drunk driving facts, we all need to know what's happening...

Drinking and driving becomes even more of a threat during the holidays, but it's a year round threat for all of us. Frankly, it scares me and hopefully after reading the following drunk driving facts, it will scare you, too. Fortunately some of the laws that have cracked down on offenders have decreased the number of fatalities over the past couple of years. However, the number of people dying on our roads yearly is horrifying. Each and every one of these deaths is completely preventable.

I hope you will do your part in staying sober on the roads all year long and this holiday season. Please, I beg of you, report all drunk drivers you see on the roads. I know my children, husband and I are counting on it!

Drunk Driving Facts

  • In 2009, a total of 10,839 people died as the result of alcohol-related car accidents.
  • A staggering 32% of all traffic accidents are the result of impaired driving.  Of all drunk driving facts, this one shocks me the most.
  • 1.4 million drunk drivers were arrested in 2009. 1/3 of these are repeat offenders.
  • Every day, 36 people die and 700 more are injured from alcohol-related crashes. One person dies every 45 minutes.
  • One of out every three fatal car crashes involves a drunk driver.
  • The average drunk driver has driven drunk a staggering 87 times before getting caught!
  • One out of every three people will be involved in a alcohol-related automobile accident at some point in their lives.
  • In 2009, 14% of children killed who were 14 years of age and younger, was the direct result of drunk driving. That’s 181 totally preventable deaths. 92 of these innocent children were passengers in a car with a driver who had a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08% or higher. 27 of these children were pedestrians or pedal cyclists hit by drunk drivers.

Drunk Driving Facts


Drunk Driving Facts: How Many Drinks is Too Many?

You just might be surprised how little you need to drink before you reach the .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. And, you may not know that even after you’ve stopped drinking your BAC level continues to rise for approximately three hours. 

First of all, there is no completely accurate way to determine the number of drinks you can consume to remain under the .08 BAC level. There are just too many variables at play: gender, metabolism rates, the amount of food in the stomach, when the food was eaten, how much time has elapsed since the last drink, and so on…Many people aren't knowledgeable about these drunk driving facts.

Your first task is to determine how many "standard drinks" you've had. A standard drink is 5 oz. of alcohol. To calculate standard drinks you need a bit of information first: how many ounces is your beverage and what the percentage of alcohol is. Use the equation above to find out how many standard drinks you've consumed.

Percent of Alcohol by Volume and Types

Type of Drink
Average Percent
Percent Range
3.8% to 4.4%
4.1% to 4.9%
5.0% to 5.9%
4.0% to 6.0%
Stouts and Porters
6.0% to 8.0%
7.1% to 14.2%
11.0% to 14.0%
Other Whites
7.1% to 12.0%
Red Wines
12.0% to 14.2%
40.0% to 50.0%
40.0% to 48.5%
40.0% to 95.0%
45.0% to 50.5%
40.0% to 43.0%
40.0% to 75.0%
A few facts... The darker and more bitter the beer, the more alcohol it has. Red wines have more alcohol than white wines, Chardonnay is the exception. The sweeter the wine, the less alcohol it has. The darker the hard liquor, the higher the alco

Drunk Driving Facts: BAC Charts

Again, please remember these charts are merely an approximation, as I mentioned before there are too many factors that influence how high your blood alcohol content will go.


Drunk Driving Pictures... Just in Case You're Not Convinced You Should Never Drink and Drive

Drunk Driving Facts and Drunk Driving Myths

Along the way, we've all heard a number of myths about little tricks we can use to sober up. Or we've heard ways to avoid getting drunk. Or, better yet, some people like to make claims they can't actually BE drunk because of x,y or z reasons. Let's delve into the drunk driving facts...Here are some examples of myths:

Myth: If I eat a big enough dinner, I won't get drunk.

Having food in your system is better than drinking on an empty stomach, but rest assured you can certainly still get drunk.

Myth: I can just sober up with some coffee before I drive.

Okay, it's better to drink some coffee than more alcohol, but caffeine isn't going to sober you up.

Myth: I had a few mixed drinks, but I couldn't taste the alcohol... I am fine to drive.

Just because you can't taste the alcohol doesn't mean it's not there. Everclear is a great example, it's hard to detect, but very potent!

Myth: I actually drive better when I'm drunk.

Oh boy, this is my favorite one. In fact, I've heard this one a few times myself. No, no one drives better when they are drunk. Everyone's reflexes, motor skills, reaction time and judgment is affected.

Myth: I've only had a couple of drinks, there's no way I'm over the legal limit.

Well, that may be true if you've only had a couple of light beers. But, you may be over the limit if you've had a couple of strong cocktails. Remember, one drink is considered .5 oz of alcohol.

Myth: I'm not really drunk, I'm just buzzed.

Buzzed driving IS drunk driving...

The only thing that will sober you up is TIME. The only way to be sure you're driving sober is to NOT drink at all!  These are the most important drunk driving facts of all.


Submit a Comment
  • Rosie writes profile image

    Audrey Surma 

    7 years ago from Virginia

    Very informative article. Pinned and voted up!

  • Read-N-Learn profile image

    Criado Law Group 

    7 years ago from Austin, Texas

    Hopefully, your hub will serve as an eye-opener to individuals who can’t think of the dangers of driving while intoxicated—not only for themselves but also for pedestrians and bystanders.

    Meanwhile, sober drivers should know how to identify drunk drivers and the counter measures to avoid crashing with them and meet an ill fate. Here’s the hub I wrote about that:

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Good hub for the upcoming holidays! So many terrible accidents that don't need to happen.

  • wordscribe43 profile imageAUTHOR

    Elsie Nelson 

    9 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

    Good to see you, lorlie. No doubt it IS scary, especially this time of year. I'm glad you've moved onto designated driver status, it's a much better way to be behind the wheel! Happy holidays to you and yours.

  • lorlie6 profile image

    Laurel Rogers 

    9 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

    This is such scary stuff, ws. When I was drinking, I'm ashamed to admit that I drove quite a lot.

    Thankfully those days are in the past and now I am THE designated driver when it's called for.

    Good, important Hub!

  • wordscribe43 profile imageAUTHOR

    Elsie Nelson 

    9 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

    trevzooms, hello back. I do hope it's a wake-up call for at least someone. I am amazed by how many people are unaware how little it takes to get a DUI or to cause an accident that can forever alter a person's life, either the driver or an innocent victim. Thanks for the visit and comment! Happy Holidays.

  • trevzooms profile image


    9 years ago from Honest within myself

    Hi WORDSCRIBE43, hopefully a wake-up call for many who are foolish, if you've prevented just one nasty incident then your efforts have been justly rewarded, good sound advice & kind regards.


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