A new survey estimates that as many as three-fourths of American adults think they know enough about how drinking affects their blood alcohol levels, while in fact, most don’t even know the legal limits in their own state. The Century Council, a group backed by major distillers, is campaigning to better educate the public about those limits and how much you have to drink to exceed them.
The group is an interactive program designed to educate users on blood-alcohol concentrations based on their weight and gender and the number and types of drinks they consume. It also factors in elapsed time, how quickly someone is drinking and how much food the individual has eaten.
“Our research indicates about 20 percent of Americans will drink a little more than usual at the holiday time, so as a result I think that it creates an additional incentive for distillers, as responsible companies, to go out and educate those people who may be enjoying the holiday celebrations more than they’re used to,” Century Council president Ralph Blackman said.
The council cites federal statistics showing that 1,708 people died in alcohol-related crashes last year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
Blackman said people often don’t realize just how fast their blood alcohol concentration goes up, and how long it takes before it returns to normal. The program, the council hopes, will help drinkers face the facts and, very importantly, it hopes to help save lives this holiday season. As Blackman explains, “What we say is, ‘Well, you’ve just gotten the information you need to make a responsible decision and the responsible decision is not drinking up to the legal limit. The responsible decision is deciding when you’ve drunk enough and you are not impaired and therefore not a danger behind the wheel.”
The Century Council’s November survey data were collected by telephone interviews of 1001 adults, 18 years or older, in the contiguous United States. Another sample polled 364 adults living in eight states.
**77%said they had enough information about drinking and driving and how drinking affects their blood alcohol level
**72% didn’t know the blood alcohol limit in their state
**The average respondent thought .33% was the limit in his or her state, which is actually four times the national standard of .08%
**17% know that 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine and drinks with 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits all have the same impact on a person’s blood alcohol levels
Source: National Instutite on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse