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Understanding the Different Stages of Increased Blood Alcohol Content

March 17, 2021
beer glasses in a toast

After spring break, colleges will be back in session, and students of legal age will return to their old routines of going out to the bars to wind down on the weekends. However, there’s a stark difference between winding down and the blood alcohol content (BAC) consequences of binge drinking.

Some people may think they can hold their liquor, but science proves otherwise. Here’s a look at the different stages of increased BAC and when it’s time to cut a patron off for everyone’s safety.


.02-.06 BAC: Just a Buzz?

This amount of alcohol content is what people describe as the mild buzz. Lightheadedness and extroverted behavior are likely to come out of this buzz. However, once the BAC hit .06, judgment and general control begin to become impaired.

At the signs of impairment, it may be time to recommend some food or water to a guest and ask their party to watch out for them throughout the night.


.08: You’ve Hit Your Limit

.08 is the legal level of intoxication. At this point, your speech is likely to be slurred, motor skills decrease. This is a dangerous stage for someone because their mind may feel great, while their body directs them otherwise.


.14-.17: Severe Impairment Sets In

Between the last BAC level and this one, the good emotions that came with the alcohol have begun to fade away. Aggressiveness, as well as issues with simple tasks like walking and standing, arise. It’s at this BAC level that most patrons will suffer from the signs of a blackout.

As a server, bartender, or employee of a grocery, convenience, or liquor store, you should be aware of the signs when someone has had too much to drink. Allowing the night to get to even this point could put your establishment in the way of liability if the guest decides to start a fight or take off from your place behind the wheel of a car.


Heed the Warning Signs of a Binge Drinker at Your Establishment

If you notice a patron downing drinks quickly, they likely have a binge drinking problem and it’s time to cut them off. The danger of allowing a binge drinker to continue drinking at your bar is that they won’t want to stop and by the time you’ve attempted to cut them off, they’re most likely ready to start trouble over that next drink. Plus, keep in mind that if you have reason to believe that another drink will push the customer over the edge into intoxication, then you’re legally prohibited from selling or serving them the drink. You must cut them off. You have no discretion.

Look for the early signs of intoxication early on in their visit, and gauge their drinks carefully, so you can tell them enough is enough without a fuss.


Know the Signs of a Binge Drinker With the Help of TABC On The Fly

Binge drinking puts everyone, including your establishment at risk. However, if you and your staff are trained to know the signs of a binge drinker, you can put a stop to the practice before things get out of hand.

With TABC On The Fly, your team can get TABC certified for the right price and from the comfort of an online setting. Register today and get your crew up-to-speed on the latest alcohol regulations.

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