Blood alcohol concentration levels

The body responds to alcohol in different stages and in different ways.

If you have seen someone who has had too much to drink, you’ve probably noticed changes in that person’s performance and behaviour. 

Below are some examples of how an individual may be affected by alcohol:

Standard Drinks* BAC% Symptoms
1-2 0.02 - 0.05
  • more self-confident or daring
  • more relaxed, somewhat drowsy
  • reduced ability to judge distances
  • increased tendency to take risks
  • drivers are twice as likely to have a crash than before they started drinking.
3-4 0.05 - 0.08
  • reduced inhibitions
  • impaired judgement
  • slower reactions
  • shorter concentration span
  • drivers are 5 times more likely to have a crash than before they started drinking.
5-8 0.08 - 0.15
  • slurred speech
  • impaired balance and coordination
  • unstable emotions
  • becoming sleepy
  • impaired peripheral vision and perception of obstacles
  • possible nausea and vomiting
  • rivers are up to 10 times more likely to have a crash.
9-18 0.15 - 0.30
  • high state of confusion
  • memory loss
  • reduced ability to move at all
  • high risk of experiencing health complications:
    • inadequate breathing
    • unable to walk without assistance
    • loss of bladder control
    • possible loss of consciousness.
19+ 0.3+
  • depressed reflexes (pupils do not respond to stimuli)
  • feel cooler (lower than normal body temperature)
  • slowed heart rate
  • possible coma
  • possible death.

*This table should only be used as a guide. Everyone will be affected by alcohol differently and their reaction will vary depending on how quickly they consume the alcohol, their body size, sex and health status.

Download the Symptoms at different BAC levels fact sheet [PDF 89 Kb]

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