New impaired driving laws in Alberta are causing a lot of confusion. It is imperative you become informed about the new rules to avoid penalties.
How many drinks are too many? How do you know your legal limit? What happens if you get charged?
What blood alcohol concentration level makes you legally impaired to drive?
New impaired driving laws came into effect in April of 2018. Previously you were allowed to have blood alcohol concentration under 0.08%. The new laws state that you must be under 0.05% or you are considered impaired. Furthermore, there is a 0 tolerance law meaning drivers under the GDL program are unable to have any alcohol in their system.
What does being under 0.05% blood alcohol concentration mean? How many drinks can you have?
There is no clear answer. Factors affecting your BAC level depend on several variables.
Weight: The smaller you are, the less alcohol you can consume to stay under the legal limit.
Food: Liquor absorbs into your bloodstream quicker on an empty stomach. Having a meal before consuming alcohol helps your body metabolize the alcohol. Eating does not prevent you from getting drunk, it just slows the process down.
Body Fat: You will get drunk quicker than someone with a higher amount of body fat.
Sex: Women’s bodies are generally smaller than men’s resulting in a higher ratio of fatty tissue to lean muscle. Men have more enzymes to help metabolize alcohol. What does this mean? Women will absorb alcohol quicker when compared to men.
Inexperience: When you are an inexperienced drinker, you have lower tolerance levels than seasoned drinkers. Your BAC level as an inexperienced drinker will rise quicker than someone who pounds back alcohol on a regular basis.
Note that the above are assumptions affecting each person differently. As a generalization, drinking less than one standard drink per hour should keep your BAC level under 0.05%. What is considered a standard drink? A drink that contains 12.5 millilitres of alcohol. This, however, is usually only effective for up to 2 hours. After this time, drinking more alcohol results in higher BAC levels.
If you are looking for a gauge on your blood alcohol concentration level, a blood alcohol calculator is a great way to do so before you drive.
What happens if You blow 0.05% BAC or over under the new impaired driving laws?
The police request a second test at the police station. If you are still at or over the legal level, you will be charged with a DUI. You will face a 90-day licence suspension and have a breathalyzer ignition system installed in your car for one year.
Be aware that you can be charged if you are under the legal limit while driving. How can you be charged if you have not exceeded the legal amount of blood alcohol? If within 2 hours after driving home, you are over the legal BAC limit you can still be convicted because you drove; the alcohol just took its time to reach your system.
The new laws are in effect for your protection since the risk of a vehicular collision increases with a BAC of more than 0.05%. It is best you stay aware so you stay alive on the roads.
Police can now ask you to submit to a breathalyzer without reason or suspicion of impaired driving. Further clarification of impaired driving laws is available from Batting, Wyman Barristers. They can also help you get out of a sticky situation.