Thursday, August 14, 2008

Have A Beer

On Monday, Vic Ryckaert of the Indianapolis Star reported on the IMPD officer George Leon Benjamin who was being held on a DUI charge. The breathalyzer showed he had a blood alcohol level of .32, 4 times the legal intoxication level of .08. Later in the week, Benjamin, a 23 year veteran detective, announced he was retiring.

The warnings used to be about the consequences of "driving drunk" Then without fanfare the language was subtly changed to warning people about "drinking and driving." A big difference. The latter reflects a prohibition mindset that labels even the teetotaler Mother who has a sip of communion wine a scofflaw if she dare drive home from church after "drinking."

The "drinking and driving" approach not only doesn't work, it prevents the pursuit of real education efforts that would cut drunk driving. For example, why not educate people about how much alcohol puts you over the legal limit to drive? Now that would be an educational effort that would have a real impact on cutting drunk driving. How about an effort to put breathalyzers in bars so people can check their BAC levels before getting behind a wheel? Neither are done because they contradict that mindset that even one sip of alcohol is too much to get behind the wheel and drive.

Now for some education. Let's assume a 200 pound man goes to a bar after work and drinks for 3 hours before returning home to his wife and children. How would different numbers of beers consumed affect BAC?

Beers consumed:

1 = .000
2 = .000
3 = .004
4 = .023
5 = .042
6 = .061
7 = .080 (legal limit)

12 = .174

16 = .250

20 = .326 (allegedly Benjamin's level)

From looking at the numbers it would seem that education efforts would be better spent encouraging people to monitor their alcohol intake rather than falsely telling someone they are a menace because they had a beer then drove home.

You can figure BAC going to this website:

I would caution though the numbers above are based on servings of beer. Contrary to what a lot of people think, mixed drinks will almost always contain more alcohol than beer. The website allows you to check many popular drinks as well as beer.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, well the calculator will not allow me to drink more than 999 beers. Clearly this is not enough for the connoisseurs like myself.

Unknown said...

I knew this loser when he was a kid. I see nothing has changed

Unknown said...

He's a total goon... No wonder crime is so bad in Indy... The cops are even drunk... well at least Leon is!