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What’s the legal limit for drinking and driving in Illinois?

If you said a BAC of .08, you’re right. And wrong.

Here’s why.

Most drivers don’t realize that they can be charged with a DUI if the they are exhibiting signs of impairment and have a blood-alcohol concentration between .05 and .08.

For many people that might mean just one drink (see charts below). While drivers under 21 are not allowed to have any alcohol in their system, and some organizations make arguments for dropping the BAC limit all the way down to 0, there’s ample evidence that driving at any levels can be risky.

Consider this:

In a 2002 study titled Analysis and Evaluation of the Effects of Varying Blood Alcohol Concentrations on Driving Abilities, Texas A&M researchers found that “persons who registered a .04 — one-half the amount it takes to be legally intoxicated — had significant impairment in their driving abilities.”

A year earlier, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found:

“Some skills are significantly impaired at 0.01 percent BAC, although other skills do not show impairment until 0.06 percent BAC. At BACs of 0.02 percent or lower, the ability to divide attention between two or more sources of visual information can be impaired. Starting at BACs of 0.05 percent, drivers show other types of impairment, including eye movement, glare resistance, visual perception, and reaction time.”

So playing it safe probably means imposing your own zero-tolerance policy while driving. If you want to let loose on a Friday night, find a designated driver, or call a cab. (You know, Uber does exist in Kankakee County).

Or stay home and open up a bottle of wine or six pack with no need to worry about your ability to drive under the influence — or other’s.

Safe driving.


© 2016 Lawson & O'Brien, P.C.