Alcohol consumption while driving causes many road accidents globally. Therefore, it is important to know the legal blood alcohol limits that apply in each country or region. In this article, we will explain what the permitted alcohol limits are in California, what the consequences are for exceeding them, and how you can avoid them.
What is the BAC?
BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) is the measure used to determine the amount of alcohol in a person’s body. It is expressed in grams of alcohol per liter of blood (g/l) or in percentage (%). For example, a BAC of 0.08 g/l means there are 0.08 grams of alcohol per liter of blood.
The BAC depends on several factors, such as weight, sex, age, metabolism, the amount and type of drink consumed, the time elapsed since ingestion, the food ingested, and other medications or substances that may interfere with the effect of alcohol.
Alcohol limit under California law?
In California, the legal alcohol limit for driving varies depending on the driver’s age and type of license. According to the California Motorist Manual, these are the established limits:
- For drivers over 21 years of age with a regular license, the limit is 0.08 g/l or 0.08%.
- For drivers under 21, the limit is 0.01 g/l or 0.01%, known as a zero tolerance policy.
- For drivers with a commercial license, the limit is 0.04 g/l or 0.04%.
These limits apply to both California residents and visitors. Additionally, there are other special cases in which the limit may be lower, such as:
- For drivers who are on probation for a prior DUI conviction, the limit is 0.01 g/l or 0.01%.
- For drivers who transport passengers for a fee (such as taxis, buses or ride-sharing services), the limit is 0.04 g/l or 0.04%.