In the world of alcoholic drinks there are two types of consumers; those that drink for pleasure and those that drink to get drunk. Unfortunately, there are some drinks no matter which camp you are in that will seem less potent than they actually are. This is very important if you still plan to drive home. The legal Blood Alcohol limit is 0.8%, but these drinks could send you over that edge very quickly without you even realizing it.
The most dangerous category of drinks to put you over the legal limit quickly is mixed cocktails. Unlike most types of beer, wine or straight shots, mixed cocktails can often be a mystery to the buyer. A friend mentions a great mixer and you all buy a round. However, you fail to realize this mixed cocktail has between 2-4 shots of alcohol in it, but is masked by either the fruity or sweetness of the drink. A popular New York nightcap the Stinger has almost 3 shots of alcohol in it, is considered 2.9 serving sizes of alcohol and has 35% alcohol by volume (ABV). Just one of these will put you over the legal limit for most average sized men and women; one just one drink.
The real problem is there are tons of drinks in this category. Many cocktails need 2 – 3 shots of alcohol to make their distinct flavor profiles. Often with just one drink an hour of cocktails will send you well over the legal limit.
Another category on the rise for men and women is the craft beer section. If you think that switching over to beer instead of those cocktails will help you in your fight to drive under the legal limit; you are most likely wrong.
Craft beer generally does not follow the same ABV levels as traditional mass market beers. Often these beers range from 6% up to as much as 10% ABV. With serving sizes ranging from 12 to 20 ounces at these percentages even 2 beers an hour will put most people over the legal limit.
If you are selecting craft beers, be especially careful to avoid any with the labels “Imperial”, “Double”, “Extra Strong”, “Extra Special” or “Strong” as these all tend to have much higher alcohol percentages than your typical beer at 4.5%.
Know Your Own Limits
To make matters even more complicated the National Safety Transportation Board (NTSB) is suggesting lowering the national legal alcohol blood level to only 0.5%. Currently the national limit which includes the state of New York is 0.8%, and even at this level you could be over the legal limit in the following scenarios.
Generally one drink equals 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor, 12 ounces of beer at 4.5%, or 5 ounces of wine at 12%
ABV levels. What does this mean for you? Well, it can depend on a lot of factors like your body weight and how much food is in your stomach.
The PanzerMeister cocktail at 32% ABV and 1.4 serving drinks would put a 100-120 pound woman over the legal limit with only two drinks in an hour at a BAC of 0.11-0.14%. This drink would put even a 180 pound woman over the legal limit at 2 per hour. For men up to 140 pounds the same 2 drinks would put them over the legal limit and three in an hour would put even a large fellow up to 240 pounds over the legal limit. Similarly, high ABV beer could put you over the legal limit for driving in as little as 2 “pints” an hour.
Most drivers also feel that after an hour of not drinking that they are “ok” to drive. One hour without alcohol generally only lowers your BAC by 0.015%. For the drinks listed above it would take most average sized people almost 2 hours to lower their BAC’s below the legal limit in New York. DUI caused fatality crashes represent over 30% of all driving deaths in the state, do not become a statistic or make someone else a statistic, know your limits.