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Alcohol Consumption Compared to drink drive limit

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EvianBaby | 11:58 Fri 24th Feb 2012 | How it Works
17 Answers
Why is it that alcohol consumption is always compared against the drink drive limit, even when there may not have been any driving involved.

I've thought this before but something I was watching the other day (can't remember now) showed somebody who had been drinking and went on to say he was 5 times aboves the drink drive limit which seemed irrelivant to me as it had nothing to do with driving.

Is it just that they have nothing better to compare it to?


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It simply offers a level across the board that we all understand. The beauty of the DD measure is that it is variable on body mass. So we can get an objective level of drunkeness by using the DD system even though driving may not itself be involved or relevant.
Seeing as you have to be essentially sober to does seem a little redundant as a comparison.
Question Author
That's what makes it seem more odd to me, because it varies from person to person then it can't really be a true representative comparison.
yes that's the point, it is the best system for comparing levels of drunkeness. eg a 20 stone man can drink a lot more than a 7 stone woman before they breach the DD limit. Hence the usage. The "N pints" guideline is mythology. The true amount is variable.
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Oh, I see what youre' saying. If the 20 stone guy is 5 times above DD limit he must have sunk a ton!
yes and also the 7 stone woman. Not the same amount in volume but in effects!'s the same when they compare size of something to Olympic-sized swimming-pools or double-decker buses....
Question Author
Yeah, sorry I get. It's all relative.

Ta muchly!
In the UK the drink driving limit is:

35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath; or
80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood; or
107 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine.

And they are 'absolute' figures..........and determination of how drunk a person is must refer to these.

So, if someone is 5 times the limit...they'll be 5 times those figures. As 'a specimen' is routinely taken in cases where accident, or injury, may have occured (even if it involves no vehicles) they will be able to calculate from that sample.
yes but a large person has a lot more of all of those than a small person.
A large person has more blood ?!?!
yes a large person has more blood.
it would get a bit tedious to work out safe alcohol levels for:
ordering takeaway
filling dishwasher
phoning friends
toddling down the shops

I have witnessed a clearly very tired and emotional old lady wandering across the road in a 'naice' housing estate - now how would you measure what she'd had too much for....
So like others have said, it's a measurement that we understand.
The volume of blood in adults doesn't vary greatly with weight or stature. We've all got roughly 4.7 litres of the stuff.

As has been stated the DD limit simply provides a convenient reference point. You might as well ask why the media frequently expresses lengths and areas in terms of football pitches, and heights in terms of double-deck buses.
Or 'an area the size of Wales' :)
Nice one, Karen ;-)
Or sometimes "Belgium".

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