The Morning After

Keys and Drink

I recall stopping a driver shortly before lunchtime one day. He smelled strongly of stale liquor from a previous night's party. I asked him when he had last had a drink, anticipating using a screening device to test him at the roadside.

He swore that he hadn't had a drop of liquor after midnight and figured he was sober enough to be driving. I believed his story about when he had stopped drinking, but I wasn't convinced at that point that he was safe to be driving.

The screening device was prepared and the driver supplied a sample. His reading was just under 50 mg% which meant that he had narrowly avoided receiving a 24 hour prohibition from driving. I wasn't surprised, but he was.

What this person failed to realize was that we can drink far faster than our body can eliminate the alcohol. Speaking in terms of a standard drink, which is one bottle of beer, one glass of wine or a shot of hard liquor, our body can eliminate about one of these per hour. Have a dozen drinks and it will be a dozen hours before your blood alcohol level reaches zero.

The moral of this story is that if you are going to party hearty this Christmas season, or any other time for that matter, think carefully about how long you need to wait from the time you stop drinking until the time you get behind the wheel.


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