BAC chart

It's not MAD science...just disappointed.

Moderator: Gav

BAC chart

Postby kiga on Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:15 am

About finding when it is not safe to drive, I recently ran across this experiment:

http://www.cockeyed.com/science/breathalyzer/breathalyser01.shtml
Kevin Iga
2+2=5 for sufficiently large values of 2
kiga
Keenspotter Supreme
 
Posts: 90
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:52 pm
Location: Pepperdine University

Postby CodeGuy on Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:31 am

I have a problem with the law against drunk driving in California.

The law specifies a legal limit of drunkenness, and provides for serious penalties and consequences for exceeding that limit.
My concern is that it is very difficult to measure levels of intoxication, requiring complex chemical analysis which is not generally available to people as they assess their own driving ability.


OK, I can understand that, but does he suggest a better method? I skimmed most of it (it seemed very repetitive) and if there was a suggestion for a better method, someone please point it out because I missed it.

Unless he can come up with an "easy to measure" way of determining inebriation that both police and drinkers can use, there isn't much point to this.
User avatar
CodeGuy
Grand Poobah Keenspotter
 
Posts: 616
Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2001 12:00 am
Location: LA,CA,USA

Postby KevinHall11 on Mon Aug 06, 2007 12:23 pm

I've long thought that bars and restaurants should be required to keep a breathalyzer on site. I'm a bartender, and my method of keeping drunks off the road is basically limited to me asking "Hey, are you OK to drive?" If they say yes, and walk out, I'm basically powerless, yet still legally responsible.

I've heard tell that in Ontario they passed a law saying new cars have to be built with a breathalyzer built in. I don't know if that law passed, or if it's still in place, but it's not a bad idea.
KevinHall11
Keenspotter Supreme
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2006 2:26 pm

Postby Gav on Mon Aug 06, 2007 6:14 pm

I have always been extremely critical about drunk driving laws, for all the reasons that site specifies and more. I've touched on some of them briefly in the comic--in particular the fact that many local governments seem to actively encourage drunk driving by simultaneously shutting down public transportation well before 2am and starting up very early morning parking ticketing. I also wonder why the punishment doesn't scale with the BAC and situation severity. If you're at 0.09 and just moving your car so they don't ticket it in the morning, that's different than if you're barrelling blindly down the freeway with a BAC of 0.3.

I wonder why no one has ever suggested something like the mandatory installation of a $50 breathalizer in every new car? I mean, if you look at the purported death statistics due to drunk driving, you'd think lawmakers would want to do something about it. We require seatbelts in every car, for instance, among any number of more expensive safety devices.

My suspicion is that they want to keep your BAC vague. They probably believe it discourages people from driving at 0.07% BAC. But, I'll bet it would have a greater effect on keeping real drunks off the roads than it would on encouraging the slightly tipsy to drive when they might not otherwise have.

Still, it would only take one person in the news who got in an accident while chatting on the cell phone and said, "But the car's breathalizer said I was 0.07%!" to kill the whole deal.
Lates...

Darren "Gav" Bleuel
(Nukees, an atomic comic)
User avatar
Gav
Keenspot Whipping Boy
 
Posts: 4024
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2000 11:59 pm
Location: Berkeley, CA Disposition: pissy

Postby KevinHall11 on Tue Aug 07, 2007 12:39 am

Yes, and car companies fought violently against the laws that require seatbelt installation, as well as other mandatory safety features. I'm sure it will happen eventually, but it's going to take some work. I couldn't find anything about that Ontario law, it was just something I heard about on the evening news once.

BAC is that isn't even always a good way of measuring actual intoxication either, which is why I support the use of roadside sobriety tests. As it is, the only sobriety test you're legally required to take is the breathalyzer, but when you compare the intoxication of, let's say a small young girl who's been as sober as a nun all her life until she decides to slam back three beer one night, with the other bartender at my job who I've seen take thirty shots in one shift, then go out with his friends to drink more, you'll notice a huge discrepancy in the way BAC syncs up with their intoxication.

Some people can drink like a fish and hold it like an old widow, others sniff bottlecaps and can't remember it. Breathalyzers aren't as scientific and useful a measurement as we've been led to believe in my opinion.
KevinHall11
Keenspotter Supreme
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2006 2:26 pm

Postby bloodeye on Tue Aug 07, 2007 10:35 am

Gav wrote:I wonder why no one has ever suggested something like the mandatory installation of a $50 breathalizer in every new car?


While we're at it, shall we install a device to read your cholestrol level before you go thru a drive thru? Sure, drink driving kills too many people each year, but heart attacks kill many more....

I agree the intoxication laws are less then ideal, but a tool handy to tell people how intoxicated they aren't isn't going to stop them. Heck, there are those who can't see straight, so feel that means they need to drive home quickly so they can get to bed before they pass out....

Technology isn't the problem here, it's stupidity. And sadly, we have yet to find a cure for that. But having decent public transportation that runs late night/early morning would be a good step.
User avatar
bloodeye
Keenspot Despot
 
Posts: 1630
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2001 11:00 pm

Postby Gav on Tue Aug 07, 2007 4:29 pm

bloodeye wrote:Technology isn't the problem here, it's stupidity.


Yes, but there's also widespread ignorance about "what is 0.08%?" No one knows and no one has any useful method of finding out. That's where technology needs to step in.

Frankly, I drive all the time after having a couple beers at a party or BBQ or something. And sometimes I wonder if I'm really legal or not. I don't feel impaired, but I honestly don't have even the slightest idea what 0.08% feels like. Does it feel stone cold sober? Does it feel slightly tipsy? Does it feel wobbly drunk? We could all use at least one datapoint in our lives to gauge this. I think it would be very useful for every driver to have a breathalizer.

I admit that not everyone would pay attention to it. Then it's stupidity. At the moment, it's often not stupidity, it's ignorance--and technology could fix that.

If I got in a car and it read 0.12%, I would probably choose to sober up for an hour. If I got in and it read 0.24%, I'd call a cab. I believe it's that first choice the government fears. It's like thinking that if you offer kids birth control, they'll have sex, so you should deny them access to birth control.

I like the idea of bars having one--except that no one would ever want to put their lips on it.


Of course nothing's stopping me from buying a breathalizer myself, other than I don't want to spend $100 for a good one, and I'm not sure if the cheap ones work.

I do like that page kiga linked to, as it gives me a (slightly) better idea of what 0.08% really means.


And maybe we do need chloresterol meters in fast food joints.

Or better yet, there could be a scale at the front of the line at McDonald's and an infrared laser that measures your height. If your BMI is too high, they can't serve you.
Lates...

Darren "Gav" Bleuel
(Nukees, an atomic comic)
User avatar
Gav
Keenspot Whipping Boy
 
Posts: 4024
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2000 11:59 pm
Location: Berkeley, CA Disposition: pissy

Postby kiga on Tue Aug 07, 2007 10:32 pm

Indeed, that is the point of the experiment on the page I linked to: to allow people to have a data point to know what .08 feels like. But as in all good science, such experiments should be repeated by independent researchers. It does sound like a good idea for a party. Come see how many drinks get you to what BAC percentage. So, who will plan the party?
Kevin Iga
2+2=5 for sufficiently large values of 2
kiga
Keenspotter Supreme
 
Posts: 90
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:52 pm
Location: Pepperdine University

Postby CodeGuy on Wed Aug 08, 2007 1:18 am

kiga wrote:Indeed, that is the point of the experiment on the page I linked to: to allow people to have a data point to know what .08 feels like.


It's a nice idea, but I think a lot of people wouldn't pay attention to other people's descriptions of intoxication. I've heard way too many people say they were sure they could do something despite all known reason saying they couldn't. Guys saying, "Sure, it's a problem for you, but *I* can handle it" out of pride. The type of people who would trust a page like that are the ones who were probably already careful about their drinking.
User avatar
CodeGuy
Grand Poobah Keenspotter
 
Posts: 616
Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2001 12:00 am
Location: LA,CA,USA

Postby Average on Wed Aug 08, 2007 4:10 am

Gav wrote:
I like the idea of bars having one--except that no one would ever want to put their lips on it.



I've been in several clubs with one. Never a traditional bar, but several military officers' clubs and a few (golf) country clubs.

You blew through a individually wrapped straw. I thought it was a good idea. But, I can see the liability issue, particularly if you blew 0.07, had a wreck, and the cops breathalizer/blood test got you at .08+.
Average
Junior Keenspotter
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Lawrence, KS

Postby bloodeye on Wed Aug 08, 2007 6:55 am

Okay, agree more or less with the above points... however, if I recall corectly, is a disparity in the tests here. The law says 0.08% of alchol in the bloodstream, yes? However, a breathalizer doesn't actaully test the bloodstream, it tests your breath, and from that tries to come up with the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream.

So the solution isn't breathalizers, but a good device to test your blood. Are devices which can quickly and accurately test a person's blood sugar level with barely a pinprick, seems same could be done to test blood alcohol level.
Natraully, is a new set of worries when dealing with blood, but am confidant somethign can be come up with. First worry I see is that alcohol is frequently used to sterilize equipment, that may effect the results. So, and alternate method of sterlization would be needed.
User avatar
bloodeye
Keenspot Despot
 
Posts: 1630
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2001 11:00 pm

Postby CodeGuy on Wed Aug 08, 2007 1:33 pm

Safely getting blood out of people isn't a problem. The diabetes industry has that down. The only issue would be the competency of the human testers, and that's not something that can 100% be accounted for.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't failing a police breathalyzer just the first step? Don't you go to the station for a blood test after that? Or, at least, you can request the more accurate test?
User avatar
CodeGuy
Grand Poobah Keenspotter
 
Posts: 616
Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2001 12:00 am
Location: LA,CA,USA

Postby towr on Thu Aug 09, 2007 12:26 am

CodeGuy wrote:Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't failing a police breathalyzer just the first step? Don't you go to the station for a blood test after that? Or, at least, you can request the more accurate test?
I'm fairly certain that is indeed the case; it should be, considering there are medical conditions that will give you high readout on a breathalyzer even when you haven't drunk anything.
towr
Grand Poobah Keenspotter
 
Posts: 607
Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2000 11:00 pm
Location: groningen,nederland

Postby bloodeye on Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:07 am

Aye, am meaning for self-testing. Need a way to accurately tell your own BAC. And while diabetic measurements can safely extract your own blood, they aren't something you want to mount on the wall of a bar, let everyone share.
User avatar
bloodeye
Keenspot Despot
 
Posts: 1630
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2001 11:00 pm

Postby CodeGuy on Thu Aug 09, 2007 1:50 pm

It's perfectly sanitary. Just like with the public breathalyser, the part that makes contact with flesh is disposable and single use.
User avatar
CodeGuy
Grand Poobah Keenspotter
 
Posts: 616
Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2001 12:00 am
Location: LA,CA,USA

Postby Gav on Thu Aug 09, 2007 5:50 pm

CodeGuy wrote:Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't failing a police breathalyzer just the first step? Don't you go to the station for a blood test after that? Or, at least, you can request the more accurate test?


I have never really known the answer to this. I read somewhere once that if you are pulled over and asked to take a breathalizer or take a sobriety test, and if you have any doubt you will pass, you should refuse. At that point, they arrest you and take you down to the station where they administer the blood test (which you can't refuse), giving you a chance to sober up a little.

Now this advice wouldn't make any sense, of course, if the breathalizer/sobriety test weren't admissible in court. I think it's possible, then, to prosecute someone even if the blood test later shows you to be under the limit.

But, maybe this is one of those myths that will never be covered on Mythbusters.

If only there was some sort of world-wide information storage technology which we might consult to answer this question...

Ah yes, it looks like it all happened in my very own hometown ten years ago:

http://www.dui.com/states/california/du ... lyzer.html
Lates...

Darren "Gav" Bleuel
(Nukees, an atomic comic)
User avatar
Gav
Keenspot Whipping Boy
 
Posts: 4024
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2000 11:59 pm
Location: Berkeley, CA Disposition: pissy

Postby towr on Fri Aug 10, 2007 12:51 am

To support my earlier comment, and provide some more information in general..

http://nationalsubstanceabuseindex.org/ ... alyzer.htm
[quote]What is a breathalyzer?

A breathalyzer (or breathalyser) is a machine that estimates blood alcohol content (BAC) from a breath sample. It is used to gauge the likelihood of impairment due to alcohol consumption.

How does a breathalyzer work?

Breathalyzers compute a Partition Ratio that is an estimation measuring 1 part of alcohol in the breath and equating it to 2100 parts per million in the blood. This is the 2100 to 1 ratio. The partition ratio is an estimate based on an idealized average; in reality the actual partition ratio can vary effected by metabolism, diet and medical conditions.

Many breathalyzers don
towr
Grand Poobah Keenspotter
 
Posts: 607
Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2000 11:00 pm
Location: groningen,nederland

Postby Jeffery McLean on Fri Aug 10, 2007 9:24 pm

And that explains why we have a police officer in our city who is obsessed with catching DUIs.

The guy is a bit of an asshole.
Was called into a bar fight. The bar got everyone out of the bar and closed up just like they should.
The police office didn't arrive until the fight turned into a major brawl.
(He took his time or maybe he just sat there and waited)

Then he kicked down the bar door and bitched at the bartender for locking it (he didn't knock or identify himself he just kicked the door down)
Then after he was told why the door was closed (something he should have known already, it's the law) he asked why the door was open. Like he hadn't just kicked it open himself.

This guy got an award for setting up his own DUI checkpoint and catching drunk drivers all on his own.

He also got in trouble for kicking the door down.
User avatar
Jeffery McLean
Grand Poobah Keenspotter
 
Posts: 878
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2000 12:00 am
Location: Concord, California, USA

Postby Wafath on Mon Aug 13, 2007 7:42 am

Late to the conversation, but a few tidbits from the east coast:

In DC, until about a year ago, there was no lower limit for DUI. One famous case involved a woman who had a glass of wine, blew a .03, and was arrested and convicted. Officer claimed that she was acting belligerent and disorderly, proof of her intoxication. She claimed that she thought it was so absurd that she was being stopped for a glass of wine and a .03. Ultimately the law was moved into line with federal standards. (Restaurant owners bitched out the city.

In [url=http://www.talkleft.com/story/2005/08/12/952/59188]Virgina, about 2 years ago, a judge ruled that BAC was not conclusive evidence of intoxication./url] Apparently the law in the commonwealth is against intoxication, not against a particular BAC, but it was understood that BAC was considered proof of intoxication. I don't know where this has gone since then. VA has since had other issues.

Some uneducated ramblings about this topic:

In theory, the BAC of .08 was chosen scientifically. People had their reaction time measured at various BACs, and real world tests and data were incorporated. If memory serves, laws were set up to target the lower limit of the problem.

Over the years, various campaigns have appeared to target other driving-while-x behaviors that offend them. It ranges from phone use, eating, changing the radio, having a young child in the car (and no other adult to deal with them), while tired, and even driving while having a bad cold. Each of these campaigns uses their collected data to compare it with a particular BAC as justification for why it should be outlawed.

Now, it doesn't take a huge leap of intuition to conclude that driving while distracted is bad, and driving while highly focused is good. But at the same time, it puts into perspective at just how bad a .08 actually is... not very. Yes, it increases your chances of an accident, but probably less than risky driving behaviors (speeding, tailgating, etc).

Now, this is a bit odd to me, as someone who remembers the campaign by MADD and others to change drunk-driving laws. Each and every horror story they published involved people who a) were so drunk that they could not control the vehicle, or b) multiple repeat offenders of a. The stories did not deal with the sad cases of accidents contributed by someone with slightly lower reaction times being unable to avoid what (without a BAC of .08) would have been a no-fault or other parties fault accident.

I think that a BAC of .08 is analogous (in many police officers' mind) to driving 5-15 MPH above the limit. If you hurt yourself or someone doing it, it is clearly to blame, but they normally are not interested in harassing you about it. (quotas and assholes aside) They know that the real problem are drivers who are Drunk, not mildly buzzed.

Also, police officers like laws and social situations like this. Consider, for example, speeding laws. It would be trivial for the police to enforce the speed limit to narrow tolerances. Done correctly, it could even turn a profit for the organization. So why don't they do it? Maybe because they don't want to deal with an irate population, politicians and judges, but also because I think police officers like being able to pull over just about anyone, at any time, at the officer's discretion. I think the BAC is a similar tool. For someone that isn't really a problem, it gives the officer discretion. (They don't have to administer the test, even at a road-block) They can ask anyone they have stopped to take the test, and if you fail, they get to cart you off to jail.

Maybe I am wrong. It certainly is a very cynical view of the law. *shrug*

Personally, I prefer to avoid drinking when I go out. The risk (Admittedly very small) outweighs the benefits in my mind, but then alcohol isn't very important to me, and I rarely feel comfortable drinking outside of my home.

Besides, it is so much cheaper to drink at home.

W
Wafath
Grand Poobah Keenspotter
 
Posts: 383
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2000 12:00 am
Location: MD, US

Postby Jeffery McLean on Wed Aug 15, 2007 3:58 pm

Gav wrote:Ah yes, it looks like it all happened in my very own hometown ten years ago:


The critical point is he refused the blood test. I doubt they could include the less reliable test sans a blood test.

However why they didn't just go after refusing the blood test is odd unless they were concerned he might fail a blood test.
User avatar
Jeffery McLean
Grand Poobah Keenspotter
 
Posts: 878
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2000 12:00 am
Location: Concord, California, USA

 

Return to Nukees

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

cron