It is estimated that one in three deaths related to traffic collision is caused by driving under the influence of alcohol, which is why many countries consider DUI an illegal offense. Find out how blood alcohol content or BAC plays a major role in regulating drunk drivers.
Driving under the influence of alcohol kills and injures innocent people. The increased awareness of the relative risks brought about by DUI has resulted to laws and road safety guidelines that are presently in effect to ensure that offenders and other road users alike are kept safe from the dangers of drunk driving. One of the ways that driving under the influence is regulated is through Blood Alcohol Content.
What is Blood Alcohol Content and how is it measured?
Blood Alcohol Content or Blood Alcohol Concentration refers to the measurement of levels of alcohol in the bloodstream. This is expressed as a percentage of alcohol in the blood by weight and is currently used for various legal and medical purposes.
Different units are used worldwide for the defining the alcohol levels in the blood, but the central idea is to measure the mass of alcohol per mass of blood (which is near a volume per volume; 1 ml. of blood is equivalent to 1.06 grams of blood) or a mass of alcohol per volume of blood. BAC by volume is used in different countries and is measured in units of percentage in the US; permille in France, Switzerland, Turkey, etc., and basis point in the United Kingdom. BAC by mass, on the other hand, is used in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland where it is measured in permille.
Another way of measuring blood alcohol content is the mass of alcohol per volume of exhaled breath, which, unlike the first two tests that involve blood or urine samples, is determined using special devices such as breathalyzers.
What affects blood alcohol content?
Alcohol intake is, of course, the main cause of elevated blood alcohol content. There are many symptoms of intoxication that can easily point to the presence of alcohol in the blood.
But there are also several factors that affect the result of blood alcohol content measurements. For example, the more water a person has, the more alcohol is required to achieve the same blood alcohol content level. Men have a higher percentage of water in their body (58%) compared to women (49%); this water affects alcohol absorption, which means that women tend to feel the effects of alcohol more quickly than men do. To illustrate further, even if a man and a woman drink the same amount of alcohol, their BAC levels would still be different.
Metabolism, or the process by which the body breaks down alcohol in the blood, is another factor. The effects of alcohol in the body wear away over time due to metabolism, excretion, and evaporation. This means that measurement of blood alcohol content is affected by the duration from between the intoxication and the time the test was taken.
Overall, BAC is important in its application to traffic law enforcement and road safety. It is a crucial part of regulating driving under the influence and ensuring that roads are safe from impaired driving.
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