What's in a blood alcohol level?
October 26th, 2011
05:50 PM ET

What's in a blood alcohol level?

The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday recommended the legal limit for driving drunk be lowered from .08 blood-alcohol content to .05 in an effort to reduce alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes, which kill about 10,000 people a year.

Your blood-alcohol level can vary depending on your age, weight, previous alcohol and drug experience and the type of alcohol being consumed.

"You can drink alcohol faster than you can remove it from your body and that's when your blood-alcohol level goes up," says Robert Pandina, Ph.D., and the director of the Center for Alcohol Studies at Rutgers University.

According to the Mayo Clinic, it takes the body roughly one hour to metabolize a single drink but the definition of what constitutes a drink changes depending on the alcohol. A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.

"If you keep drinking alcohol, it's not going to get metabolized any faster just because you've consumed more of it," explains Pandina. "Metabolism happens at a fixed rate until all the alcohol is processed."

Pandina calculates that a woman weighing approximately 110 pounds would have to drink between 12 and 13 ounces of 80-proof liquor in an hour to reach a blood-alcohol level of 0.40.

"It's still a lot but it's far less than people may imagine," says Pandina.

A person may need medical attention with a blood-alcohol level under 0.2. Vital functions may start to shut down before someone reaches 0.25. Death is possible with a blood-alcohol level of 0.3. And that's without prior liver damage from previous alcohol or drug use. A person with a damaged liver is at higher risk for catastrophic or fatal alcohol poisoning because his or her  liver cannot effectively metabolize the alcohol.

"The message is very simply when you know someone has been drinking and drinking heavily, don't wait," says Pandina. "It's quite possible to revive individuals even at very high alcohol levels and keep them from having catastrophic effects."

soundoff (1,600 Responses)
  1. AbdgEncox

    hormones http://canadianeve21.com/ cheap prescription drugs online

    April 27, 2021 at 08:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. canadian generic pills

    canadian weight loss pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian customs pills vitamins

    April 27, 2021 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. LhdvZisse

    us online cialis https://asciled.com/ brand cialis 20mg

    April 27, 2021 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. AC Repair Orlando

    Great article. Couldn't be write much better! Keep it up!


    April 27, 2021 at 16:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Nick's Air Conditioning And Heating Orlando

    Great article. Couldn't be write much better! Keep it up!


    April 27, 2021 at 17:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. property for sale wallace idaho


    April 27, 2021 at 22:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. LhdvZisse

    cialis drugs http://asciled.com/ – differences between viagra levitra and cialis generic cialis online overnight delivery

    April 28, 2021 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Debt Relief

    Really very happy to say,your post is very interesting to read.I never stop myself to say something about it.You're doing a great job.Keep it up


    April 29, 2021 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Debt Consolidation Company

    this is very informative and intersting for those who are interested in blogging field.


    April 29, 2021 at 14:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. window washing denver

    Keep this going please, great job!


    April 29, 2021 at 16:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. signature window cleaning denver CO

    Wow this blog is very nice!


    April 29, 2021 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. priligy

    priligy pills for sale dapoxetine pills for sale

    April 30, 2021 at 09:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. JbsdEncox

    Accupril buy drugs online women's health

    April 30, 2021 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. JbsdEncox

    meds online without doctor prescription https://onlinecanda21.com/ 24 hour pharmacy

    April 30, 2021 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. AbdgEncox

    Aricept http://canadianeve21.com/ canadian drug store

    May 1, 2021 at 02:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. LrbsEncox

    levitra over the counter uk http://uslevitraanna.com/ walmart levitra price

    May 1, 2021 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. GvdbCrulk

    tadalafil cialis http://boxtadafil.com/ – tadalafil 30mg tadalafil spray

    May 1, 2021 at 19:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. canadian pharmacy 5 mg daily cialis

    buying canadian cialis https://canadacialisstore.com/ cialis on line purches canadian pharmacy

    May 1, 2021 at 19:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. LrbsEncox

    comprar levitra online difference between viagra and levitra dosage for levitra

    May 2, 2021 at 09:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RfvbZisse

    cialispills online https://cileve.com/ buy cialis online with check

    May 2, 2021 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. LbsoZisse

    free samples for cialis http://ucialisdas.com/ cialis,com

    May 3, 2021 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. JebgEncox

    canada pharmacy coupon https://pharmacylo.com/ ed pills online

    May 3, 2021 at 20:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. JebgEncox

    prescription drugs online without Singulair Viagra Gold

    May 4, 2021 at 00:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. AnooEncox

    wowow viagra https://llviagra.com/ how to tell if viagra is real

    May 4, 2021 at 01:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. GtnbCrulk

    canada viagra https://jokviagra.com/ free viagra samples no shipping

    May 4, 2021 at 02:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. truck repair near my location


    May 4, 2021 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. accountability group

    This is a topic which is close to my heart... Cheers! Where are your contact details though?


    May 4, 2021 at 17:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. LebnEncox

    online rx pharmacy https://xlnpharmacy.com/ diabetes

    May 4, 2021 at 18:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. aika online download


    May 4, 2021 at 20:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. chevy express van conversion

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Thank you for providing these details.


    May 5, 2021 at 06:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RV Storage Riverside

    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article! It is the little changes which will make the most significant changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!


    May 5, 2021 at 08:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. BbshMile

    viagra 100mg street price http://loxviagra.com/ viagra military

    May 5, 2021 at 08:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. roadside truck repair

    You should be a part of a contest for one of the finest sites on the net. I am going to highly recommend this website!


    May 5, 2021 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. LebnEncox

    indian pharmacies safe canada drugs pharmacy online sex ed

    May 5, 2021 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Movie

    Hi to every body, it's my first go to see of this blog; this webpage contains amazing annd truly fine information in favor of readers.

    May 5, 2021 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Eye Doctors

    I love looking through an article that can make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!


    May 5, 2021 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Payday Loan

    I really like this post


    May 5, 2021 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Auto collision repair in raleigh nc

    Impressive! Thanks for the post


    May 5, 2021 at 18:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. pizza places near me

    This is a topic which is near to my heart... Many thanks! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    May 5, 2021 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. conversion van

    I really like it when people get together and share opinions. Great blog, continue the good work!


    May 5, 2021 at 20:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. News

    Hey I am so glad I found your webpage, I really found you by mistake, whiloe I was researching on Google for something else, Regardless I am her now and wuld just like to say thanks for a incredible post and a all round entertaining blog (I
    also love the theme/design), I don't have time to read through itt all at the moment but I hhave book-marked
    it and also added in your RSS feeds, soo when I have
    time I will be back to read mich more, Please do keep up the fantastic work.

    May 5, 2021 at 23:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. lifestyle group


    May 6, 2021 at 00:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. BbshMile

    viagra daily https://loxviagra.com/ how does female viagra work

    May 6, 2021 at 01:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Best Optometrist Near Me

    Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a very good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and don't seem to get nearly anything done.


    May 6, 2021 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. rural king near me

    Right here is the perfect web site for anybody who wishes to understand this topic. You understand so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a subject which has been discussed for years. Wonderful stuff, just excellent!


    May 6, 2021 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RebfZisse

    cialis with dapoxetine usa http://rcialisgl.com/ – where to buy cialis online stockists of cialis

    May 6, 2021 at 16:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. suntrust near me

    It’s nearly impossible to find well-informed people for this subject, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks


    May 6, 2021 at 17:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. FmrfEncox

    \'generic cialis\' https://cialisee.com/ original cialis online

    May 6, 2021 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. rv dealers orange county ca


    May 6, 2021 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Used Forklift Dealer California

    You've made some really good points there. I checked on the net to find out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this web site.


    May 6, 2021 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

Leave a Reply to Social Media Marketing Service


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.