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BACtrack Breathalyzers Consumption Report - Winter 2014

For the second time this year, BACtrack shares consumer Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) data for review and analysis.  The data provides insight into alcohol consumption patterns around the nation.

Nearly 300,000 BAC test results were aggregated anonymously from users of BACtrack Mobile, BACtrack's award-winning smartphone breathalyzer, and BACtrack Vio, BACtrack's newest smartphone breathalyzer. The data, collectively called the BACtrack Consumption Report, will be regularly updated and analyzed to provide insight into global drinking habits.    

Don't miss results from our first BACtrack Consumption Report, released in June 2014.


Explore our findings...

Seasonal BAC Levels

Drinkers Stay Warm with Alcohol: Most Alcohol Consumed During Winter Months

Between December 1st and March 31st, the average BAC is higher than any other time of the year.

  • The average BAC is above 0.06% nearly 75 percent of days during this time period; the rest of the year, the average BAC is above 0.06% only 50 percent of days
  • More than five out of every seven days have an average BAC above 0.06%
  • Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows the holiday season brings an increase in DUIs and drunk-driving fatalities, which correlates with higher average BAC levels.
    • A ​recent NHTSA ​stud​y​ shows ​8.3% of drivers during weekend nighttime hours were found to have alcohol in their system. Based on our analysis of user data, we estimate the percentage of people with a positive BAC roughly triples around the holidays and weekend nights in December. This means one out of every four drivers on the road has consumed some amount of alcohol compared to other non-holiday weekend nights. ​

What makes this particularly interesting is that research shows drinkers are “buzzed” and experience stimulating effects such as increased energy and self-confidence when they have a BAC of 0.055% or lower. At 0.06%, drinkers reach peak stimulation and the euphoric effects of alcohol take place. Once they surpass the 0.06% threshold (called the “Point of Diminishing Returns”), the depressant effects of alcohol, such as fatigue, lack of balance and poor coordination, begin to kick in and drinkers are more likely to appear “drunk” to those around them. They are also more likely to have horrible hangovers.

BACtrack also found that 14 of the 15 biggest drinking days of the year, all of which have an average BAC of 0.08% or higher, fall between December and March.

  • The days with the highest average BACs include: December 6th and 7th (0.087% and 0.088%); New Year’s Eve (0.094%); January 18th and 19th (0.090% and 0.088%) and January 25th (0.093%); Super Bowl Weekend - February 1st and 2nd (0.090% and 0.091%) and February 15th - the day after Valentine’s Day (0.092%); March 7th and 8th (0.088% and 0.088%) and St. Patrick’s Day Weekend - March 14th and 15th (0.087% and 0.094%)
  • The only other day out of the entire year with an average BAC of 0.08% or higher in 2014 was the Saturday before Cinco de Mayo - May 3rd (0.090%)


BAC Data by City and State

Highest BACs? East Out Drinks West

When it comes to the highest average BACs for the month of December, the top five cities and states fall on or to the east of the Mississippi River.

  • The cities with the highest average BACs include: Waltham, Massachusetts (0.133%); Jersey City, New Jersey (0.132%); Champlin, Minnesota (0.124%); New Orleans, Louisiana (0.123%); Greenville, South Carolina (0.111%)
  • The states with the highest average BACs include: Iowa (0.122%), Arkansas (0.113%), Alabama (0.112%), Maine (0.107%), and Tennessee (0.106%)

When it comes to the lowest BACs, every region is covered.

  • The five states with the lowest BAC are: New Hampshire (0.012%), Delaware (0.026%), Utah (0.031%), Arkansas (0.037%), and Wyoming (0.051%).
  • The cities with the lowest average BACs include: Brighton, Colorado (0.006%); Walnut Creek, California (0.013%); Huntington Beach, California (0.013%); Columbus, Ohio (0.014%); Redwood City, California (0.015%)


    Click on a state below to see average BAC levels of selected cities within the state. 



    Note: Rhode Island is not included in the map view because the number of users and tests in the state was below our threshold for inclusion.


    Data for the BACtrack Consumption Report was collected anonymously from users of BACtrack Mobile and BACtrack Vio smartphone breathalyzers. The data includes nearly 300,000 unique BAC tests performed by users over the past 13 months. BACtrack smartphone breathalyzer users are in over 35 countries and in all 50 U.S. states. Anonymous data is aggregated from users with data storage activated, location services turned on, and does not represent data from all users.  


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    How a BACtrack Works

    When alcohol is consumed, it is absorbed from the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines into the bloodstream.

    As blood flows through the lungs, alcohol in the bloodstream moves across the membranes of the lung’s air sacs (alveoli) into the air. The concentration of the alcohol in the alveolar air is directly related to the concentration of the alcohol in the blood. As the alveolar air is exhaled, the alcohol in it can be detected by the breath alcohol testing device.

    BACtrack Mobile and BACtrack Vio Smartphone Breathalyzers

    All data in this study was collected from the BACtrack Mobile, BACtrack's award-winning smartphone breathalyzer with police-grade Xtend®Fuel Cell Sensor Technology, and BACtrack Vio, BACtrack's newest smartphone breathalyzer model. When a user blows into BACtrack Mobile or BACtrack Vio, BAC results are wirelessly transmitted via Bluetooth® to an iOS or Android device. With the free BACtrack companion app, a user can get more than a simple BAC result -- they can track, save and share BAC results, attach a note or photo to a result, and with BACtrack's ZeroLine® feature, get an estimate of when their BAC will return to 0.00%.

    About BACtrack

    San Francisco-based BACtrack is the leader in breathalyzers, offering a full range of innovative products for both personal and professional use. Founded in 2001, BACtrack helps people monitor their blood alcohol content and make informed decisions about alcohol consumption. In April 2013, BACtrack launched BACtrack Mobile, the world's first smartphone breathalyzer that uses fuel cell sensor technology and Bluetooth connectivity and has since won Popular Science's 2013 'Best of What's New' Award for its innovation in health. In April 2014, BACtrack was rated the #1 breathalyzer brand by Car and Driver Magazine. BACtrack breathalyzers are available in 20 countries and at over 15,000 store locations including Walgreens, Costco, Best Buy, and Pep Boys. BACtrack products can also be purchased online at, Amazon, and BACtrack products have been featured on Oprah's All Stars, The Dr.Phil Show, The Doctors, and MythBusters. Connect with BACtrack via Twitter and on Facebook. For more company information, explore our site,