How Long Does it Take to Get Sober?
Most of us are responsible drivers. We know that driving under the influence is dangerous and that our driving skills may be impaired before you reach the legal limit of a .08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC). We may even know exactly how many drinks we can have before reaching that limit. But, even responsible drivers can be involved in a Philadelphia drunk driving crash.
You’ve had a few drinks with dinner. You sat and talked for an hour and then had a cup of coffee to sober you up for the drive home. But, coffee can’t make you sober. Neither can a snack, a cold shower, a nap, or a dose of fresh air. Only time can eliminate alcohol from your blood.
Once the alcohol in your drink hits the bloodstream, it can only leave the body in three ways: through your breath, through your urine and through your metabolism.
Five percent of alcohol in your blood is exhaled through the lungs. This fact is why breathalyzer tests can take accurate BAC measurements. Another five percent is removed by your kidneys and excreted in your urine. That leaves 90 percent of the alcohol still in your blood. This alcohol is metabolized and broken down into acetic acid.
We often say that skinny people have fast metabolisms, while those who aren’t so skinny metabolize slower. These rates of metabolism don’t apply to alcohol. Everybody, regardless of size, age, gender or health, metabolizes alcohol at the same rate of .015 percent of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) per hour. You can’t speed up the process. In fact, a meal can slow down the rate of alcohol metabolism because the meal also needs to be metabolized. So, when can you drive again?
The time it will take you to get sober is your blood alcohol concentration divided by .015. This table can help:
BAC Time to get sober
.02 1 hour, 20 minutes
.04 2 hours, 40 minutes
.06 4 hours
.08 5 hours, 20 minutes
.10 6 hours, 40 minutes
.12 8 hours
.14 9 hours, 20 minutes
.16 10 hours, 40 minutes
.18 12 hours
If you drink too much, you may think that a few hours of sleep will allow you to sober up and be ready to drive. But, it takes more than a few hours to metabolize a full-night’s worth of alcohol. You may still have significant levels of alcohol in your blood the next morning.
PA DUI Accidents: Help for Drunk Drivers
If you have been injured by a drunk driver in Pennsylvania, the driver may use the time of his last drink as a defense. But, there is no excuse for driving drunk. All DUI victims deserve accountability for their injuries. We can help. Call Ostroff Injury Law to schedule a free consultation.