One drink could land you in jail


Expert Member
Dec 7, 2006
One drink could land you in jail

If you drive, don't drink, is the simple guideline for this festive season. If you are female and weigh 45 kg, a single glass of wine could have you on or slightly over the legal limit for driving, which is 0,05g/100ml.

'Tis the season to be jolly, but how jolly is a jail cell filled with characters who certainly don't look like the Three Wise Men?

"Speed and alcohol are the big killers on our roads", according to a report issued by the Arrive Alive campaign. "The combination of these two factors takes its toll particularly over weekends, when the lethal speed/alcohol cocktail accounts for more than 60% of the weekly total of crashes."

This was obviously taken into account when the legal alcohol limit was reduced from 0,08g/100ml to 0,05g/100ml over two years ago.

So how much can you drink and still drive?
A unit of alcohol is considered to be one beer (340 ml), one standard size glass of wine or one standard tot measure of spirits.

Other factors to consider are whether your stomach is empty and how much time has elapsed between having the drink and getting in behind the steering wheel.

The table below, provided by the Medical Research Council (MRC), outlines approximate blood alcohol levels according to number of units/drinks, gender and body weight.

This is a generalised chart based on a person who is metabolising one drink an hour. These figures represent blood alcohol levels for up to one hour after alcohol intake. Blood alcohol levels are measured in grams per 100ml of blood.
Drinks	45 kg	63 kg	81 kg	100 kg	Gender
1	0,04	0,03	0,02	0,02	Male
	0,05	0,04	0,03	0,02	Female
2	0,09	0,06	0,05	0,04	Male
	0,1	0,07	0,06	0,05	Female
3	0,13	0,09	0,07	0,06	Male
	0,15	0,11	0,08	0,07	Female
5	0,22	0,16	0,12	0,1	Male
	0,25	0,18	0,14	0,12	Female
10	0,44	0,31	0,24	0,2	Male
	0,51	0,36	0,28	0,23	Female
Tips on reducing the effects of alcohol
You can reduce the effects of alcohol in your body by not drinking on an empty stomach, by eating fatty foods, such as chips and peanuts while you are drinking, and drinking plenty of water in between drinks.
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Expert Member
Dec 7, 2006
The six stages of drunkenness

The six stages of drunkenness

The effects of alcohol hit your brain like a tidal wave. And you can go from jovial, to falling-down drunk, to dead – and it doesn’t take very long to get there.

First it suppresses the frontal lobes, then it goes to the back of your brain, and then to the parts deep in the centre. Dr Izak Loftus, forensic and anatomical pathologist from the Pathcare-Group explains.

Alcohol is a suppressant. It is called this, because it suppresses the normal functions of your brain.

This suppressing effect on the brain is almost like a wave crashing over your head. First it suppresses the frontal lobes, then it washes further backwards over the parietal lobes, then to the parietal lobes, the occipital lobes right at the back, then deeper into the brain to the cerebellum and lastly to the diencephalon and the mesencephalon (midbrain), and then down to the brainstem and the medulla oblongata.

This process is continuous, but certain functions, for example peripheral vision, may already be affected at an earlier stage.

First effect: the jovial phase
The frontal lobes house the functions that control, among other things, your inhibitions, self-control, willpower, ability to judge and attention span.

Suppress it, and your self-confidence increases, you start getting jovial, you become more and more generous, and start talking more. This is why alcohol is seen as a good social lubricant.

This effect can already be detected with blood alcohol levels as low as 0,01g/100ml - in other words, while you are within the legal limit of 0,05g/100ml.

The problem is that even at this level, which is perfectly legal, your loss of judgement ability and your changed personality already increase your risk of dying an unnatural death, for example as a result of being in a fight.

Maybe you are better able to control yourself and your behaviour in this phase as a result of good self-control, or education, and the onslaught of the alcohol might pass by relatively unobtrusively. Maybe not.

Second effect: the slurring phase
The next parts of the brain that come into the firing line, the parietal lobes are affected at a blood alcohol level of approximately 0,10 g/100ml.

Then your motor skills become impaired, you have difficulty speaking, you speak in slurred fashion (which oddly enough, you cannot hear yourself), you start shivering, and complicated actions become very difficult to execute (I always used to watched alleged drunk drivers trying to fasten their shirt buttons – an everyday activity that suddenly becomes as difficult as threading a needle). At the same time your sensory abilities are hampered.

Third effect: the can’t-see-properly phase
If the occipital lobe is reached, the alcohol level is usually about 0,20 g/100ml.

Your visual perception ability becomes limited. You have increasing difficulty to perceive movement and distance. Your depth perception becomes impaired and your peripheral vision decreases. If you now drive at dusk, you will have great difficulty seeing the little boy running after his ball, or your fellow drinking buddy, staggering by the roadside.

Fourth effect: the falling-down phase
At about the alcohol level of 0,15 g/100ml the cerebellum becomes affected and keeping your balance could become difficult.

With a bit of luck, your friends would by this time have lain you on the ground somewhere safe.

Fifth effect: the down-and-out phase
We hope you are lying down in a safe place, because at this stage the wave is crashing at 0,25 g/100ml over your diencephalon and the mesencephalon (midbrain).

You become tired and very unsteady – you are now probably out for the count.

You start shaking and you vomit. Maybe your reflexes will not be so badly suppressed that you cannot protect your airways, otherwise you could inhale your own vomit and die. Your consciousness is now suppressed, and you may be comatose.

Sixth effect: in the valley of the shadow of death
Should the alcohol wave wash further, driven by a blood alcohol level of 0,35 tot 0,40 g/100ml, and it reaches your brain stem, including the medulla oblongata, you have life-threatening problems. The centres controlling your breathing and your blood circulation are suppressed, and you are busy dying.

The chronic drinker
These effects refer to the social drinker. Chronic abuse of alcohol will increase someone’s tolerance, and would therefore cause these effects to become visible only when a chronic drinker has reached much higher levels of alcohol in the blood than those mentioned above.

Usually the person would appear to be less under the influence at a specific blood alcohol concentration (BAC), when the BAC is busy dropping, than when it is busy increasing. This is called the Mellanby effect, and is the result of the development of acute tolerance in the brain with regards to alcohol.


Honorary Master
Oct 1, 2005
Saturday I was lekker gekuiered, but then I smoked a sigarette (I dont smoke), so that make my head spin reallly badly and when that effect went away I was totally clearheaded again. Weird...


Executive Member
Jul 29, 2005
Tips on reducing the effects of alcohol
You can reduce the effects of alcohol in your body by not drinking on an empty stomach, by eating fatty foods, such as chips and peanuts while you are drinking, and drinking plenty of water in between drinks.
Best not to drink if this is the case.


How long does the booze stay in your system? Ie. If I have 3 beers and weigh over 100kg. How long will I have to wait before my b/a drops from 0.06 to 0.04?


Nov 5, 2005
How long does the booze stay in your system? Ie. If I have 3 beers and weigh over 100kg. How long will I have to wait before my b/a drops from 0.06 to 0.04?
Could be as long as 4 hours to return to 'normal'.


Expert Member
Dec 7, 2006
Booze sellers to face the music
31/01/2007 13:33 - (SA)

Johannesburg - In a major crackdown on alcohol abuse, liquor outlet owners in the Eastern Cape who sell booze to drunken patrons could be held liable if drunken customers cause harm to others, Dispatch Online reported on Wednesday.

Bingeing boozers also face being monitored when they are out on the town - even totally banned from the province's pubs and taverns.

These tough new recommendations made to the provincial Liquor Board are aimed at halting the bad effects of alcohol in the province.

They follow a study called the socio-economic impact of the liquor industry in the Eastern Cape, by the Pretoria-based company Eco-Mine. It was commissioned by the provincial Liquor Board last year.

Researchers found that, contrary to the belief that the impoverished Eastern Cape consumes far less than national averages, consumption was in line with national figures, if not slightly higher.

A staggering 900 million litres of alcohol are sold in the province each year. This translates to every adult gulping down over 220 litres of liquor a year, compared to the national average of 200 litres.

At the time the report was compiled last year, 25 244 liquor outlets - only 16% of them with permanent licences - were operating in the Eastern Cape.

The report recommends limiting the number of outlets and cutting down on hours and days that alcohol can be sold.

It also recommended empowering municipalities to enforce liquor trading hours and crack down on outlets that sell liquor to under-age customers. Such a crackdown could bring down crime.,9294,2-7-1442_2062228,00.html