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The link between weight and Blood Alcohol Concentration

You know that the legal limit for drinking and driving is 0.08 in Illinois, but how do you know if you're at that limit or not? Is it all right to have a beer or a glass of wine with dinner? What if you just want to grab one or two drinks with friends after work?

The problem is that there are many variables involved, so it's impossible to lay out a standard for everyone, that works in every situation. Things are different for men and women, for example. Another key variable to look at is your weight.

Simply put, those who weigh less tend to be able to drink less before they cross that legal limit.

For example, a man who weighs 170 pounds could have just one drink in an hour and have a BAC of just over 0.02. If he had two drinks, he would be close to 0.05. By the third drink, he would reach almost 0.07, and a fourth drink would put him well over the limit.

However, a 137 pound woman would be at 0.08 by the time she had her third drink, and perhaps slightly over. Despite drinking 25 percent less alcohol, she would be too drunk to drive.

For the purposes of these statistics, it's also good to know that a "drink" is considered to be .54 ounces of alcohol. Though that runs out to roughly one beer or one shot, some drinks are stronger than others; for instance, one craft beer may have as much as two or three "drinks" within a single bottle.

As you can imagine, many people don't even realize that they're too drunk to drive when they get behind the wheel. If you've been in a car accident involving a drunk driver, even if that driver didn't realize how drunk he or she was, you could be able to seek compensation.

Source: Jesse White, Secretary of State, "DUI Fact Book," accessed July 23, 2015

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