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The ABC’s of BAC

Written by: Alan Baker 28th June, 2023

ABV stands for Alcohol by Volume, which is a standard measurement used to determine the alcohol content in a drink. It represents the percentage of pure alcohol in relation to the total volume of the liquid. ABV is commonly used in the production and labelling of alcoholic drinks such as beer, wine, and spirits.

For example, if a bottle of wine has an ABV of 12%, it means that 12% of the total volume of the wine is pure alcohol. Similarly, if a can of beer has an ABV of 5%, it indicates that 5% of the volume is alcohol.

ABV is an important factor to consider when consuming alcoholic drink, as it helps individuals understand and regulate their alcohol intake. Different drinks have varying ABV levels, with most spirits having higher percentages than beer or wine. It’s essential to be aware of ABV when consuming alcohol responsibly and to understand its effects on the body.

ABV, is a crucial factor in calculating Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). BAC is a measurement of the amount of alcohol present in a person’s bloodstream. To calculate BAC, several factors are taken into account, including the amount of alcohol consumed, the duration of consumption, sex, body weight, and height.


What does BAC stand for?

Blood Alcohol Concentration.


How is BAC measured or calculated?

BAC is typically measured by analysing a person’s blood samples but can be converted from breath or urine samples. It can be estimated using Breathalyser devices or calculated based on factors such as alcohol consumed, body weight and height.


What is considered a legal BAC limit for driving in the UK?

For most drivers, including car drivers, motorcycle riders, and lorry drivers: The legal BAC limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. This is commonly referred to as 80 mg/100 ml or 0.08%.

Did you know?

The limit for pilots in the UK is 20 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood which is one quarter of the current drink-driving limit in England (80mg/100ml).


How long does it take for the body to eliminate alcohol and lower BAC?

The rate at which the body eliminates alcohol and lowers BAC can vary depending on several factors. On average, the body metabolises alcohol at a rate of about 18 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood (18mg%) but can range from 10mg% – 25mg%.

As a general guideline, it takes about one hour for the body to eliminate the alcohol from one standard alcoholic drink. However, this is just an estimate, and individual variations can influence the process.

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