The state where I live has a .08 blood alcohol tolerance. This means that if you are driving a vehicle – even a golf cart or a bicycle – and your blood alcohol is .08 or above, you’re in big trouble. In real terms, .08 isn’t a lot of booze.
The United States National Institute of Health has provided a chart that details blood alcohol content ranges and the effects of these ranges and it is surprising.
Apparently, with a blood alcohol content of up to .12 percent (far above the legal driving limit), a person merely becomes self-confident, daring, and a little flush. The primary effect is that their judgment is a little impaired. This stage is named “euphoric”.
From .09 to .25 percent (three times the legal limit!), drinkers become sleepy and can’t remember facts. They are slow or uncoordinated, sometimes dizzy, and their vision becomes blurry. This stage is named “excitement” although there appears to be little excitement going on.
From .18 to .30 percent, the “confusion” state is marked by dizziness, confusion, emotional (aggressive or affectionate), sleepy, slurry, and impaired vision.
Remarkably, there are two more states one can enter. The “stupor” state (.25 to .4 percent) includes vomiting, lapses in consciousness, and the lack of response to stimuli.
The “coma” state (.35 to .5 percent) is just that – unconscious. This stage can lead to death.
Interestingly enough, a lot of alcoholics feel completely capable of driving well into the “confusion” state and probably did drive in that state. Being between 3 and 4 times the legal limit can send a person to jail for a long time.