This is related to a thread in the pit. I have looked around at many web sites, but cannot find the information I am looking for. I want to know how much haveing a BAC of .01 would impare you, especially while driving. I am particularly interested in finding out how that level measures up to other things that could affect one’s ability to drive, e.g. talking on a cell phone, driving while tired. Finally, I would like to know how much more likely one is to cause an accident with a .01 BAC as opposed to a higher or lower BAC. Thank you!
Well, I can’t give you research, just a feel for it. .01 BAC is virtually nothing, and I’d say that you are at higher risk of an accident doing ANYTHING else that might be distracting (cell phone, headbanging to the radio, looking at a map, etc) than with a .01 BAC. .01 for me is ~ half a drink in an hour. Now, if you are an adult…half a drink will do NOTHING to you mentally or physically…at least not noticably. I feel comfortable driving with a BAC of around .04 (2 drinks in an hour), but even with that, I’ll usually wait a bit just to be safe…if I feel ANYTHING, I won’t drive. I hate drunk drivers so much, I would never push it…plus my tolerance is fairly low, so a 0.08 BAC for me would not feel safe at all…I’d be terrified to drive like that.
FYI, here is the pit thread for reference: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=57547
Apparently, a 0.01 BAC impairs your typing skills.
Unless you meant 0.10 BAC, I don’t know that anything lower than 0.01 can be measured.
Perhaps this OP is because states are now adopting zero tolerance for underage DUI’s? The theory being that teens can’t legally drink anyway, so if they have ANY alcohol in their system, they’ve been drinking illegally. And, unless this was a sobriety check point, the driving of the person at 0.01 BAC must have been at least a little suspicious for the police to pull you over.
He means 0.01 (read the pit thread for the story). I am sure that a BAC under 0.01 CAN be measured, since I’ve seen news stories quoting a BAC to 3 decimal places i.e. 0.219, 0.075, etc.
I think in my state (CT), if you have a BAC of something like .01 or .02, and are under the age of 21, you can be charged with DUI. So you better not have eaten a Tic-Tac in the last week if your under 21 in CT.
There’s more than one question here. The OP (I believe) is asking specifically for evidence that having a BAC of .01 does impair (or potentially impair) the driver to a measurable degree, therefore making it necessary to remove them from the road.
I doubt that such evidence exists. In any individual, of course, varying rates of impairment would occur, not only with individual BAC’s, but a whole range of other factors. We’ve pretty much decided (as a society) to enact legislation that provides for the presumption of impairment at the line of 0.10, (and in some places a bit lower).
where the “DUI” charge comes in for BAC’s of 0.01 is for under age drivers, those drivers who, by law aren’t supposed to be drinking at all. So while the charge is still Driving Under the Influence, the presumption is not (I believe) that they are as impaired as the traditional DUI w/BAC of 0.10, but that they are in fact, driving under the influence of alcohol, which they are not supposed to be consuming.
Is it fair/right etc? Shrug. it is difficult to make the argument that having a BAC of 0.01 will actually impair the driver to any significant degree, but much easier of an argument to make than “well, ok, so I wasn’t supposed to be drinking at all, but show me how it affected my judgment in other ways…” (ie, that the decision to drink although it’s against the law, then drive afterwards, even knowing that laws specifically target under age drinking, can be realistically seen as evidence that one’s judgment has been impaired).
Thanks wring, you stated very clearly and well what I was apparently unable to elsewhere!
FYI- in SoCal we have ads on the radio now warning people that a study says that Benadryl (OTC allergy med) will impair you as much as alcohol! Watch out!
I know people (plural) who use Benadryl (sp? too lazy to actually look it up) as a sleeping pill. Two bennies and nite-nite. Unlike the old school bennies: two bennies and don’t sleep for a week.
damn… all those mornings I drove to high school after using listerine, I was probably over the legal limit… that’s scary…
[scientist hat on] You’re confusing threshold of measurement with measurement sensitivity. It may be possible to significantly measure BAC to three decimals, yet not be able to accurately measure above background anything less than 0.050. However, I do suspect that it’s possible to measure down to 0.010.
Yep, Benadryl can impair you as much as alcohol. So can a whole host of other drugs, including a number you can get OTC. NyQuil, most cough syrups, most mouthwashes all have alcohol in them.
Hell–I’m currently sucking on a Halls cough drop, which contains 6 mg of menthol. I’m not absolutely sure of the structure of menthol, but I think it’s a secondary alcohol–which would show up on a breathalyzer test. (Breathalyzers, if I’m not mistaken, use the Jones alcohol test, in which a primary or secondary alcohol can convert chromate into chromium oxide–orange solution into green suspension. Rather dramatic. But it doesn’t work with only ethanol). So, kiddies, watch those Altoids–they contain menthol as well. (The peppermint ones, at least).
(Just checked–menthol’s a secondary alcohol, and would be picked up by a Jones test).
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Zero Tolerance Laws are instituted only so that the State can use Zero Thought in their application.