It has long been understood that driving under the influence is both dangerous and illegal. But where exactly does the state of Indiana stand on the matter of alcohol limits?
The Science of Alcohol Consumption
Even in small amounts, alcohol impairs your reaction time, judgment, and physical coordination. Being alert and able to make quick decisions are critical skills for operating a motor vehicle.
When you drink, alcohol is absorbed through the stomach and small intestine, where it flows directly into the bloodstream. Once in the blood, alcohol is carried to all parts of your body, affecting the brain, kidneys, lungs, and liver.
After approximately an hour, the alcohol in your system is metabolized by the liver. However, not everyone metabolizes alcohol at the same rate. Many biological and circumstantial factors can affect the rate at which an individual can metabolize alcohol. Weight, age, gender, the type of alcohol consumed, interactions with other medications, the amount of food in your stomach, and even stress levels impact how quickly the liver metabolizes alcohol.
Although you may feel fine—that is, sober enough to drive—after indulging in a few drinks, that doesn’t mean that it is legally permissible to do so.
Legal Limits in Indiana
In Indiana, as in most other states, the legal level of alcohol consumption is 0.08% BAC. BAC, or blood alcohol concentration, measures the weight of ethanol (alcohol) in grams per 100 milliliters of blood. BAC can also stand for ‘breath alcohol concentration,’ where concentration is measured in grams per 210 liters of breath, often by a so-called breathalyzer test.
BAC is generally agreed to be the most accurate way to measure intoxication – rather than the number of drinks you’ve had. There’s such a massive range in the size of drinks and how alcohol affects each individual that drink size alone is not a sufficient assessment.
However, just because a BAC of 0.08% is the legal limit doesn’t mean you can’t experience intoxication with a lower BAC. By the time you have a BAC of 0.06%, your judgment is impaired, as is your reasoning, self-control, and reaction times. Any amount of alcohol has the potential to be hazardous to drivers. In fact, drivers with a BAC of 0.06%, despite being under the legal limit, are twice as likely to get into a fatal vehicular accident than one who is completely sober.
Facing the Consequences
Driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated, or driving while under the alcohol limit is a serious legal offense. In Indiana, if you are pulled over while driving with a BAC that exceeds the legal limit, your license might be suspended for up to 180 days. For those convicted of a DUI, the suspension can be extended anywhere from 90 days to two years.
Additionally, Indiana has a Driver Record Points system regarding moving violations. Accumulating 12 points can lead to probation and license suspension. A DUI is worth eight points. In some cases, you may also be obliged to install an ignition interlock device in your car at your own expense. Others may face a jail sentence and further restrictions once they are released.
The bottom line is, drinking and driving can have severe ramifications for everyone involved. For the sake of your health and the health of others, don’t drive while under the influence, even if it is below the alcohol limit. If you are struggling with an addiction to alcohol, Landmark Recovery can help you get back onto the path of wellness. Connect with us today; we’re here for you, and we genuinely care!