How much can I drink and still drive safely (and legally)?

I feel like most people are raised under the excessively naive belief that “There is no safe way to drive while under the influence. Even one drink can make you an unsafe driver.” There’s probably several good reasons for this: unsupervised teen socializing, suburban sprawl, and an unrealistic legal drinking age, but I digress.

The quote above comes from the top of the Alcohol Impairment Chart that came with my license renewal today. But for whatever reason, the California DMV didn’t stop there. They included a series of charts for seven weight ranges that factor in the number of drinks consumed and the number of hours since your first drink. Find the right point on the chart and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) will be.

What I like about this approach is that it’s honest and informative, rather than FUD. And my first thought was, “I’ve gotta turn this into HTML.” So I did.

Select your weight range:

Time from
1st Drink
Total Drinks
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 hr                
2 hrs                
3 hrs                
4 hrs                
(.01%–.04%) Possible DUI
(.05%–.07%) Likely DUI
(.08% and up) Definitely DUI

The California DMV says, “[This chart has] been constructed so that fewer than 5 persons in 100 will exceed these limits when drinking the stated amounts on an empty stomach.”

“One drink” is a 1 ½-ounce shot of 80-proof liquor (even if mixed with non-alcoholic drinks), a 5-ounce glass of 12% wine, or a 12-ounce glass of 5% beer. These “one drink” equivalents change if you are drinking ale, malt liquors, fortified wines, port, brandy, different proof liquor, or if you are drinking on an empty stomach, are tired, sick, upset, or have taken medicines or drugs.

For more info, click here.

Feel free to if you found this useful.