Want to know which state ranked as the drunkest last Fourth of July? You can easily pinpoint this information with a single glance at a new national intoxication report, incorporating data culled from BACtrack Mobile, the first-ever smartphone breathalyzer application. All the information found in the report, released on Wednesday, was collected anonymously from users of BACtrack Mobile and represents more than 100,000 unique blood alcohol content (BAC) tests. Specifically, the makers of BACtrack Mobile traced levels of intoxication across times of day, dates, cities/states, and seasons.
“Our goal is to enlighten the general public on alcohol consumption habits so that they become more responsible drinkers,” said Keith Nothacker, founder of BACtrack. Going forward, he plans to regularly update and analyze the data to glean insights into global drinking habits.
Meanwhile, the rest of us can indulge our Jeopardy!-like fascination with facts and figures on all matters of national drunkenness. Which day last year had the highest average reading (0.115 percent BAC — or about five to eight drinks, depending on your weight)? Oddly, it wasn't New Year's Eve or St. Paddy's day as you might assume but quiet, unsuspecting June 22, 2013, the Saturday following solstice and so among the longest days of the year.
The Geography of Drunk
Quick facts about where the drinks are flowing... or not:
- Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Idaho have the highest average BAC results in the country (ranging from 0.010 percent for the Big Sky State to 0.089 percent for the Gem State).
- The state with the lowest BAC is New Hampshire (0.012 percent). The four other states rounding at the lowest five are Delaware, Utah, Arkansas, and Wyoming.
- Users in Minneapolis, Denver, and Portland test themselves the most. (Is this related, by any chance, to how frequently they pose for selfies?)
- On average, Californians test slightly lower than New Yorkers: about 0.01 percent less BAC.
- The five cities with the highest BAC averages are West Hollywood, Dallas, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, and Oakland. The lowest city overall? Surprisingly, Texas's largest city, Houston.
Wondering how BACtrack Mobile works? Very simply, you breathe into a separate device and then it transfers the data to your smartphone, which gives you the reading on your BAC. The science behind it is a bit more complicated. Whenever you drink, alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream and then as it flows through your lungs, alcohol moves into the air contained within the lung’s air sacs (alveoli). As you exhale alveolar air, the alcohol is detected by the BACtrack device; this concentration is related to the concentration of the alcohol in the blood. Considered extremely accurate, BACtrack Mobile won Car and Driver’s breathalyzer showdown earlier this year, by topping other tested products based on performance, design, and ease of use... which brings us back to our inebriation statistics.
Days of Wine and Roses
When is most everybody kicking back with a cocktail? According to the national intoxication report:
- New Year’s Eve, Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine’s Day, and Fourth of July ranked, in descending order, as the highest average BAC days.
- Drinkers start earlier in the day on Valentine’s and Christmas Eve than other holidays, including St. Patrick’s Day and the Fourth of July.
- The single highest number of unique users and the greatest number of tests occurred on New Year’s Day, which was nearly double that of any other day. The next highest day for people testing how much alcohol they'd drunk? Sadly, Christmas.