Critical Days of Summer: stone cold sober

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Jessica Smiley
  • 81st Training Wing ground safety
The Critical Days of Summer campaign is in its second week. Airmen all across Keesler are taking much-deserved time off for some rest and relaxation. If your routine for relaxation includes the consumption of alcoholic beverages, how much do you normally drink? Do you have one drink with dinner or do you have three to four drinks over an evening with friends? Whatever your alcohol intake may be, did you know that you may feel "fine," but actually be over the legal limit of 0.08 blood alcohol content?

Picture this--it's a Friday night and you're having dinner with friends. You decide to have a nice glass of red wine with your meal. This glass of wine has made you feel mildly relaxed and a little lightheaded. Your BAC is estimated at 0.03. After dinner, you have decided to play board games with your friends. You are offered a beer that has been brewed by your friend's family. You decide that it would be rude not to accept since it has been family brewed. As you are playing this board game and enjoying your beer, you sense that your emotions are intensified and you have some impairment with your memory, your BAC is now estimated at 0.05.

As the board game continues, you're offered another alcoholic beverage. You start drinking it because of your impaired judgment and lowered inhibitions. As the night wears on, you start having some vision issues and you noticed that you have stumbled a few times getting to the kitchen to snack on some crackers offered by your friends. Your BAC is now estimated at 0.07. You have been at your friends house for approximately four hours and your friend has offered you a shot of hard liquor to celebrate the good evening. You kindly accept this offer and drink the alcoholic beverage.

During this evening of relaxation and celebration you have consumed four beverages containing alcohol, your estimated BAC is 0.1. With the BAC of 0.1 you are over the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle. Because you know the only cure for alcohol to rid the body is time, your plan is to wait an hour before heading home. Unfortunately, with the amount of alcohol that has been consumed, an hour is not long enough for the alcohol to leave your system.

When your planned hour is up, you tell your friends goodnight and thank them for a great evening of good food and entertainment. You feel fine and you feel confident you can drive home. You remind your friends that you only live five miles away. You grab your keys and head to your car. Within four blocks, you see red and blue lights up head and realize that it is a checkpoint for DUIs. When you reach your checkpoint lane, the officer asks if you have been drinking and you admit that you had a few. The officer asks you to take a breathalyzer test and you breathe a BAC of 0.087, above the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle. You now realize your plan was flawed and although you were feeling fine you were indeed impaired.

The only true safe level of BAC when operating a motor vehicle is zero. Time is the only cure for alcohol to rid the body. According to, it can take more than two hours to drop your blood alcohol from 0.05 to zero. If you have a blood alcohol content of 0.08, it can take up to six hours to reach zero. Remember that every person is different when it comes to alcohol intake. A person's body weight, gender, what has been eaten, and alcohol tolerance all contribute to how alcohol affects your body and BAC. The graph below depicts specific BAC percentages and the effects it has on driving.

Take some time before drinking to come up with a plan. Use a designated driver, sleep over at your friend's house or call a taxi or Airmen Against Drunk Driving. The 81st Training Wing Safety office reminds you to enjoy responsibly this summer and use your plan.