People who drink alcoholic beverages and then make the decision to drive a motor vehicle will make all kinds of excuses and rationalizations.

They'll say things like "I'm not drunk, just buzzed," or "I just had a little," or "I feel perfectly fine."

So to demystify the effects alcohol has on the average person, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has put out a chart on what happens to someone who imbibes.

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Keep in mind that the blood alcohol legal limit in Utah is .05.

The chart also does not attempt to quantify how many drinks will get you to those BAC plateaus.

There are so many factors that go into figuring that out that most websites and experts defer when asked how many drinks make you legally drunk.

Factors that can affect an individual's BAC include:

  • Sex
  • Weight
  • Drink's alcohol level
  • Drink size
  • Food intake
  • Water/liquid intake
  • Weather
  • Medical conditions
  • Medication
  • Time

Plus, alcoholic drinks are very different when it comes to the amount of alcohol in each one. From the website gorelick-law.com, here are just a couple of the differences:

"When counting drinks to estimate BAC, it is important to understand how different the amount of alcohol can be based on the drink. According to the charts, one drink is equal to .06 ounces of 100% alcohol. This includes:

  • 1 1/2 ounces of 80 proof liquor;
  • 12 ounces of a 5% beer (Utah was 3.2% beer for 86 years, but changed to 5% in 2019)
  • 5 ounces of a 12% wine.

When people are out with friends or having drinks with dinner, it can be difficult to estimate drinks. Sharing a bottle of wine makes it hard to know how many drinks each person had, especially when the drinks keep getting topped off. Going to a brewery and sampling a number of beers may be deceptive as the small tasting glasses could be 4 to 6 ounces and some craft beers or barley wines can be 10% or higher."

Unfortunately, we've seen quite clearly in recent times how deadly and devastating drunk driving can be.

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