We now all associate a 0.08% blood alcohol content as the general legal limit for drunken driving. But how much do you really know about the limit?
Here are eight facts about the 0.08% blood alcohol limit, as provided by the Illinois Secretary of State:
- All 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have adopted 0.08% as the general legal limit for driving drunk, when it comes to adults 21 and over.
- Illinois adopted the 0.08% limit in 1997, making it one of the earlier states to adopt the standard.
- Most states used 0.10% as the legal standard for driving drunk, until 2000. One of then-President Bill Clinton's final acts in office was to pass a transportation bill that required states to either adopt the federal standard of 0.08% or risk losing out on federal transportation grants.
- At 0.08%, just about all drivers are impaired to the point that critical driving skills are greatly diminished. Studies indicate that at 0.08%, a driver's steering, braking, speed control, lane changing, gear changing and judgments of speed and distance are all significantly impaired.
- It doesn't take much to reach 0.08%. An average-sized male (weighing about 170 pounds) would only have to consume four or more drinks in one hour on an empty stomach. The average-sized female (about 137 pounds) would only have to consume three drinks in one hour to reach 0.08%. A drink is considered a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a cocktail containing 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
- At 0.08, a driver is three times more likely to be involved in a car crash than a sober driver, and 11 times more likely to be killed in a single-vehicle crash.
- It is a myth that repeat DUI offenders and alcoholics are responsible for most alcohol-related crashes. In fact, about 80% of alcohol-related crash fatalities are caused by drivers with no arrests for drunken driving during the previous three years.
- If you think we have it rough, China has the equivalent of a 0.02% legal limit for driving drunk. Of course, for drivers under 21, Illinois still strictly enforces a zero tolerance policy.