Getting behind the wheel of a car after consuming any amount of alcohol is a bad idea. And, at various established thresholds — be it at .05 or .08, whatever — doing so is illegal. We all know that, or should.
So, how many drinks and how much alcohol does it take to reach .08, the breathalyser reading that in Alberta, as well as many jurisdictions, constitutes being legally impaired? Who hasn’t faced a drive home from a social night out with friends and asked themselves the question, "Am I OK to drive?"
How many drinks does it take to reach .164, the reading that resulted in goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin of the Edmonton Oilers being convicted of extreme DUI — he is appealing the finding — in Arizona? There is no one answer to either question because there are so many factors to consider, but we’re going to take a swing at both today live on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
With Khabibulin’s conviction and subsequent 30-day sentence for extreme DUI in the headlines, Gregor and JGS producer Meg Morrison will conduct an unorthodox on-air experiment in an attempt to come up with some answers.
They’re going to get drunk on live radio.
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
While Gregor and Morrison won’t be the first radio personalities to go on the air impaired, they might be the first to do so in a measured attempt to shine some light on what it takes to reach the minimum level of legal impairment and the flat-out drunk level a reading of .164 represents.
I’ll be riding shotgun on the exercise, sober as a judge, as will a national employment screening company that specializes in drug and alcohol testing. Gregor and Morrison will consume alcohol in measured amounts in controlled intervals during the show. A representative of the company will monitor them by administering breathalyser tests.
This sanctioned on-air bit of boozing is the idea of Ross MacLeod, TEAM 1260 brand manager. "This isn’t specifically about Khabibulin. It’s about the .164 reading and the issue of alcohol," MacLeod said. "The Khabibulin story has spawned a lot of questions. How much booze does it take to get to .164? What about .08? We obviously can’t relate it specifically to Khabibulin because there are so many variables and everybody is different, but can we get an approximation? That’s the question and the curiosity."
SURVEY SAYS . . .
Those variables, it goes without saying, are many. The size and weight of the person has to be taken into account. Metabolism and individual drinking habits are a factor. What has the person had to eat? As we’ve all seen, two drinks can put one person on the floor, while another might be fine — legally and otherwise — having consumed the same drinks during the same time period.
This on-air exercise, then, while controlled, can hardly be called scientific and it won’t provide definitive answers as to what it takes to reach legal impairment of .08 or the reading of .164. It might, however, open some eyes about both thresholds, which is the object of the exercise — that and getting people to think twice about getting behind the wheel if they are anything but stone, cold sober.
In addition, we hope to have a spokesperson from MADD on during the show, so tune in.
— Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.