BAC Levels: Effects and Dangers

As a person drinks, the amount of alcohol in their blood stream increases. These blood alcohol content, or BAC levels, can result in different symptoms. It’s key to know when these levels cross over from minor complications to serious risks…

BAC Levels: Know The Ranges


The first of the BAC levels is on the lower side of being dangerous. At this level, the symptoms won’t usually be too bad. This is where people may start to feel more sociable and get a bit red in the face. Their attention span may also get shorter as they bounce from one thing to another.

Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful. Even at these lower levels, their judgement and motor skills may not be as sharp as they usually are. This is why every state has .08 BAC as its legal limit for how much alcohol can be in your blood when you drive.


.09-.25 is the middle ground of BAC levels. Here, a person will begin to really feel the effects of alcohol. They’ll have trouble with memory and speaking, as well as struggle to stay awake. Issues with balance and blurred vision also tend to be common.

In this state, a person is no longer able to drive safely. Rather, they need to let their body process all the alcohol in their blood. Try to cut them off from drinking and encourage them to have some water instead, while keeping an eye on them just in case. They might also need to find another ride home if they can’t sober up.

.25 and up

Once a person’s BAC levels go past .25, things can become quite dangerous. They may constantly pass out and wake up, vomit, have issues breathing, and experience a slow heart rate. Extremely high levels of BAC can even be fatal if not treated.

At this point, the concern has passed from them just driving. Now, they’ll need some expert attention. The safest thing is to either have someone sober take them to a hospital or call an ambulance if no one else can drive. In the meantime, stay with the person and keep them awake and upright until help arrives.