It seems ridiculous to think that people in Hazlet may need to do research before going out to the bar, but with the increasing amount of alcohol in beers, wines and mixed drinks, it is harder for people to know whether they are safe to drive home. Everyone knows that anyone with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher could be arrested for and charged with drunk driving, for which the penalties can be quite severe. In order to avoid possible time in jail, heavy fines, the loss of a driver’s license and being forced to install an expensive ignition interlock device, most people know to limit how much they drink before driving.
But what if they are miscalculating? There may be people in Hazlet who think they are under the legal limit, but could actually be arrested if they were stopped by police. According to the author of a study for the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, people need to know how strong their favorite brands are before they order wine or beer. If they order mixed drinks they should assume that they are equivalent to at least one-and-a-half times the strength of a regular drink.
Perhaps instead, the U.S. Department of Agriculture needs to revise its recommendations on what constitutes a healthy amount of alcohol. If people don’t know how many drinks will get them past the legal blood alcohol limit how are they supposed to avoid drunk driving charges?
It really isn’t fair for drivers to be expected to know that one brand of beer has 6 percent alcohol as opposed to 4 percent, but it may be better than the alternative: getting charged with drunk driving.
Source: HealthDay, “How Much Alcohol Is In Your Drink? Stronger Beverages Make It Tough to Tell,” Brenda Goodman, Oct. 15, 2013