Drunk Driving Glossary
Alcohol-involved fatalities are those where at least one driver, or motorcycle operator, has a positive BAC of .01 or higher. In producing national and state alcohol-involved statistics, NHTSA estimates the extent of alcohol involvement when alcohol test results are unknown.
BAC is measured in grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. A BAC of .01 indicates .01 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. As of July 2004, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation establishing a driver with a BAC of .08 to be legally intoxicated. Additionally, 48 states and the District of Columbia have laws and penalties for those who drive with elevated or “high” BAC levels.
Any fatality occurring in a crash involving at least one driver, or motorcycle operator, with a BAC of .08 or higher is considered to be an alcohol-impaired driving fatality; drunk driving and alcohol-impaired can be used interchangeably. The term drunk driving does not indicate that a crash or a fatality was the result of alcohol impairment. In producing national and state drunk driving statistics, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates the extent of alcohol involvement when alcohol test results are unknown. Drivers in all 50 states and D.C. are considered to be alcohol-impaired if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher.
Hardcore drunk drivers are those who drive with a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or above or who do so repeatedly, as demonstrated by having more than one impaired driving arrest, and who are highly resistant to changing their behavior despite previous sanctions, treatment or education.
The rate of alcohol-impaired (or alcohol-related) fatalities per 100,000 population is the number of alcohol-impaired (or alcohol-related) fatalities for every 100,000 persons in the population being measured. For example, an alcohol-impaired fatality rate of 3.2 per 100,000 population nationally means that for every 100,000 people in the nation, there were approximately three alcohol-impaired fatalities.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the federal government's official nutrition policy defines a standard drink of alcohol as 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits, 12 ounces of regular beer or 5 ounces of wine.
Women have less fluid in their bodies than men of the same weight, so there's less water to dilute the alcohol. So with the same amount of alcohol, women will generally feel and experience the effects of alcohol more than men.