The blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for drivers is .08. Anything over that can result in a DUI arrest. There are, in some cases, harsher restrictions for young drivers and professional drivers, but the .08 limit is generally used.

That said, many drivers who are arrested are well over that limit. It’s true that you could find yourself facing charges at .09, and the average is dragged up by those who are way over the limit, but the statistics over the years show that many drivers are nearly double the limit.

For example, in 1991, the average BAC was .1599 in Virginia. There were 38,422 convictions that year, and accidents led to 429 fatalities.

In 1993, the average peaked — between 1991 and 2016, anyway — at .1613. Even though that average was higher, there were far fewer convictions, coming in at just 29,513 total.

Since then, the average has been falling. In 1999, it was just .1354. It then rose slightly to .1425 in 2010, dropped down to .1393 just a year later, and most recently hit .1452 in 2016. While that’s higher than the lowest average, it’s still significantly lower than what it was about a decade and a half ago.

Convictions have also dropped substantially. 2016 was the lowest total in the 1991 to 2016 span, coming in at just 19,925. That’s almost half as many convictions as there were in 1991. There were just 262 fatal accidents, which is also far lower.

Though the BAC levels and accident fatalities have been falling, drunk driving continues to be an issue. It’s important for those who are injured to know their legal rights when it comes to seeking compensation.

Source:, “ Virginia Alcohol-Related Motor Vehicle Statistics (Calendar Years 1991-2016),” accessed Oct. 12, 2017