If you consume alcohol, doing so in moderation is recommended, especially if you’ll be operating a motor vehicle in Ocean City or throughout Maryland. While it’s advisable to have a designated driver, there may be a situation when you’ve had an alcoholic drink and feel like you can drive your car safely. If you’re pulled over and given a breathalyzer test, you’ll need to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) that’s legal. Understanding how the breathalyzer test works can help ensure you know how to comply with the law.
Understanding how a breathalyzer test works and what it measures
After drinking alcohol, it’s best not to drive a motor vehicle within a specific timeframe. If you’ve had a small liquor shot, waiting one hour before driving is suggested. Having a BAC no higher than 0.08 percent is the legal level for driving. Otherwise you risk getting a DUI. BAC is the concentration of alcohol in your system after drinking. A breathalyzer test measures BAC and can give a police officer information on your level of intoxication. For an average adult, the 0.08 percent BAC level is equivalent to consuming four to five drinks in two hours.
Types and Accuracy
Preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) tests and evidential breath tests (EBTs) are two types of breath analyzer tests that can be given. Police primarily use PAS tests in the field to determine BAC levels. EBTs are more accurate and used at the jail, which can help confirm if a person is over the legal BAC level.
Factors affecting BAC
Several factors affect BAC levels. A smaller person may have a higher BAC due to less body fat, which doesn’t absorb as much alcohol. Eating food while drinking can also affect BAC levels. Three other factors include:
- Drink type
- If used with other drugs
Monitoring the alcoholic drinks you have can help ensure you are within the legal BAC level if you are asked to take a breathalyzer test. Failure to do so can lead to a DUI and the consequences of getting one.