Blood alcohol content (BAC) is the measure used to establish whether a person is driving while drunk. The more you drink, the higher your BAC will become, with sometimes disastrous results. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains how many drinks it takes before your driving ability is impaired.

While the number of drinks it takes for a person to get drunk can be based on their weight and whether their drinks are considered a standard serving. In general, most people begin to feel minimal effects after just two drinks. At this point, BAC is .02%. There are slight alterations in mood, decreased visual function, and difficulty multi-tasking.

By about three drinks, BAC rises to .05%. At this level, coordination, visual tracking, and muscle control are all impaired. Alertness may also be affected, which means driving a vehicle becomes more dangerous. For example, a motorist will have problems reacting to an unexpected or emergency situation at BAC .05%. Four drinks bring the BAC up to .08%, which is the legal limit. Impairments become even more pronounced, including diminished reaction time, lack of self-control, problems concentrating, problems with perception, and balance impairments.

At .08%, a person can be cited for a DUI if a breathalyzer is administered. At five drinks, a person’s BAC may be .10%, at which point impairments become even more significant. Two more drinks and BAC is raised to .15%. Loss of balance, lack of muscle control, inattention, problems processing information, and an inability to control the vehicle are far more likely to occur. While the possible legal consequences of DUI certainly act as a deterrent, driving while inebriated can also lead to serious accidents and even loss of life.