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What factors can influence blood alcohol concentration?

When you get pulled over by law enforcement officers while driving, it is very likely that they will ask to measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) by conducting a breathalyzer test. This will involve you blowing through a tube that will then measure your breath to calculate the percentage of alcohol in your blood, and therefore will determine whether or not you are driving legally.

Many people contest the accuracy of breathalyzer tests, since although they are deemed reliable by law enforcement, they can sometimes make mistakes. People also get confused as to how much they can drink before surpassing the legal limit. This is difficult to say because alcohol effects everyone differently, so the best way to ensure that you are not over the legal limit is by deciding to not drink at all before driving a vehicle. The following are some factors that can affect your BAC.


Women typically have a lower content of water compared to men. Therefore one unit of alcohol consumed by a woman will usually result in a greater BAC than when a man consumes one unit of alcohol.


In general, the older a person is, the greater effect alcohol can have on a person's reactions and behavior.


People metabolize alcohol at differing speeds. If you process alcohol relatively quickly, your BAC will not remain high for as long as that of a person with slower metabolism.


If you are stressed, it can affect the way that you process alcohol, and can cause your BAC to increase sharply.

It is always better to refrain from alcohol before driving a vehicle, because you never know how consumption will affect your BAC, and you may be found to be driving illegally.


Source: BAC Track, "Factors that Affect BAC," accessed Nov. 24, 2017

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