Blood Alcohol Content

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

Blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood. For example, if the BAC is 0.05%, that means the person has 50 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millitres of blood. How much and how fast a person drinks, their body weight and type, and how much food they have eaten affects BAC. According to BAC charts, a drink is defined as follows:

  • Beer, 341 ml (12 oz), 5% alcohol content
  • Wine, 142 ml (5 oz), 12% alcohol content
  • Cider/Cooler, 341 ml (12 oz), 5% alcohol content
  • Distilled alcohol (rye, gin, rum, etc.), 43 ml (1.5 oz), 40% alcohol content

Check out Smart Serve's tool to see how you compare.
In Canada, the Criminal Code BAC limit is 0.08%. This is the level at which Criminal Code impaired driving charges can be laid; Even a small amount of alcohol can affect a person’s ability to drive.

  • If BAC is above 0.05%, the person can have their licence suspended for 24 hours to 7 days.
  • In Ontario, people under the age of 21 operating a motorized vehicle like driving a car, motorcycle, boat need to have a BAC of 0.00%

Pleasure Zone

green smoke

  • 0.01% - 0.05% = feelings of happiness and loosening of muscles. May feel like talking more and being more social.
  • 0.05% - 0.08% = Less alert, trouble thinking clearly to make decisions, and acting differently.

Caution Zone

yellow smoke

  • 0.08% - 0.15% = slowed reactions, finding it hard to focus, loud talking, feeling impaired, short-term memory loss, slurred speech.
  • 0.15% - 0.24% = lack of motor control, not thinking clearly, blurred vision, difficulty standing/walking, feeling tired, may be upset or angry.

Stop and Get Help Zone

red smoke

  • 0.24% - 0.35% = impaired circulation and respiration, increased pain threshold, disorientation, loss of motor function, loss of consciousness, possible death by overdose
  • 0.35% + = very slow breathing or not breathing normally, pale/bluish or greyish skin, not responding to talking or touching, vomiting without waking up.
  • 0.40% + = death can occur.


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