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May 26th, 2010 WHITNEY HAWKE | Special Section Stories
 

Drinking, Driving And Cruis’n The USA

     
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ILLUSTRATION: Lloyd Eugene Winter IV

For any person who drinks regularly, there’s one question that seems to linger at the end of every night: Am I shit-canned enough to get a DUII? As a precautionary measure, I bought a professional-grade breathalyzer (the BACTrack S80) and took it to Portland’s favorite “barcade,” Ground Kontrol (page 14), to play Cruis’n USA while getting progressively drunker. The idea is to find out how much drinking impairs my sweet (albeit virtual) driving skills after two, four and six beers. A breathalyzer measures a person’s blood alcohol content, or BAC, and in Oregon the legal maximum for driving is .08 percent. Blood alcohol content’s proportion to the amount of alcohol consumed differs depending on a person’s height, body type and sex. So, for the record, my stats are: height, 5-foot-4; body type, squishy; sex: yes, please.

BAC: 0.000 (0 beers)

Finishing time: 1 minute, 48 seconds; 4th place

Status: I’m flooring it through the Alaska’s Yukon Territory in a vicious blue Corvette, dodging elk, grizzly bears and killer whales. I get cut off by a yellow Hummer just before the finish line and end up in fourth place. Why didn’t the whales and bears maul the Hummer? If this game were a tad more politically charged I would have made it to the podium.

BAC: 0.028 (2 beers)

Finishing time: 1 minute, 47 seconds; 4th place

Status: I just drained a PBR tallboy and a Heineken in eight minutes, so speeding through Alaska feels a little looser this time. It might be the familiarity of the course, or the fact that my instincts are taking over, but I clock in a second under my sober time. Does this mean I should always drink two beers before driving anywhere? Probably not, but I’m not one to question scientific data.

BAC: 0.086 (4 beers)

Finishing time: 1 minute, 57 seconds; 6th place

Status: All right, I made it over the legal limit and am officially driving drunk. The sheepish little devil known as impairment is taking hold and I botch a few turns while driving through the formidable Alaskan ice tunnel. I land a mediocre sixth place, and tack on 10 seconds to my previous time.

BAC: 0.123 (6 beers)

Finishing time: 1 minute, 59 second; 9th place

Status: I’m officially hammer-timed, and my Corvette just plowed through a herd of grizzly bears. There is bloody bear matter all over my windshield and I can’t see a thing. If there is one lesson learned from tonight, it is this: If you’re going to drive drunk, just be sure to scrape the remnants of obliterated bear carcass off your window before putting the key in the ignition. Remember, safety first.

 
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