Textbook Topics: Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

The last chapter of the Standard textbook is Driving Safely. While Standard/General Mathematics has always focused on mathematics relevant to day-to-day life, Driving Safely focused on mathematics I never completed when I was in high school.

This chapter focused specifically on:

  • Using formulas to calculate BAC for males and females, based on number of drinks consumed, number of hours drinking, and the person’s mass.
  • Interpreting the BAC and solving problems involving reducing BAC.
  • Analysing data and graphs involving BAC and road accidents.
  • Constructing and interpreting graphs that illustrate the level of BAC over time.
  • Solving problems involving speed, distance, speed and time.
  • Using formulas to calculate stopping distance.

One aspect of this chapter I found interesting was the fact that there is a formula that calculates BAC.

The textbook stated that there are limitations to this formula, which include:

  • Your health.
  • The time taken for your liver to process alcohol.
  • The size and type of drink.
  • How fast you drink (the faster you drink, the higher your BAC).
  • Alcohol is absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream if food is in your stomach.
  • The type of mixer used (water and juice slow absorption while carbonated mixers speed it up).
  • The temperature of the drink (warm alcohol is absorbed quicker).

The textbook also provided a formula to calculate how long (how many hours) it takes for a person’s BAC to return to zero.

The textbook also provided a real-life example of how crucial a person’s BAC can be when completing everyday tasks like driving – the BAC of Henri Paul, the driver of the car Princess Diana was in when she was killed.

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