So You Think You’re OK to Drive. “Not So Fast,” Says the San Diego Police Department

San-Diego-My-BAC-ScreeningIn order to stay under the limit, you need to know your limit.

That’s the theory behind MY B.A.C.,” an outreach program that the San Diego Police operates to reveal to passersby that they might be drunker than they think.

The program sets up a voluntary checkpoint where people out for an evening of dining and drinking can test their breath with a genuine police breathalyzer.  The checkpoints are set up in three neighborhoods with vibrant nightlife: the Gaslamp District, Pacific Beach and North Park.

The process: ask people if they will submit to a voluntary breath test, and also if they they think they are okay to drive.

The findings of the program are revealing. Most people tend to underestimate their degree of impairment. For the record, California’s legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is .08. Yet many people who blow .08, and many who blow over that, think that they’re still okay to drive.

San-Diego-My-BAC-2The highest BAC level encountered by the program so far has been .28 – more than three times the legal limit. That person was not under the impression he could drive, fortunately.

More “MY B.A.C.” events are scheduled. If possible, the SDPD would like to do them once a month, in order to keep reminding people that they are more impaired than they think.

It’s a good thing to remember: if you think you’re too drunk to drive, you probably are. And if you think you’re not, you might well be wrong about that. Play it safe and take a taxi home.