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Report: Americans Drink The Most During Winter Months

DETROIT (WWJ) - A new report suggests Americans like to drink their Winter Blues away.

December through March is the peak drinking season in the United States, with the average blood alcohol content (BAC) above the legal limit over 35 percent of the time, according to a report by breathalyzer producer BACtrack.

"Our goal is to shed light on alcohol consumption habits so consumers can make smarter decisions when drinking," Keith Nothacker, president of BACtrack, said in a statement. "We hope this report will make consumers more aware of how much alcohol they consume when at a bar with friends or while drinking eggnog at a holiday party so they can ultimately stay safe."

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

BACtrack found that 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%

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 drinkers surpass the 0.06% threshold, the depressant effects of alcohol, such as fatigue, lack of balance and poor coordination, begin to kick in and they're 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%)
  • January 25th (0.093%)
  • Super Bowl Weekend - February 1st and 2nd (0.090% and 0.091%)
  • February 15th - the day after Valentine's Day (0.092%)
  • March 7th and 8th (0.088% and 0.088%)
  • 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%)

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%); and 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 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%); and Redwood City, California (0.015%)

The states with the lowest average BACs include: Mississippi (0.026%), New Hampshire (0.029%), Wyoming (0.031%) and New Mexico (0.036%).

What about Michigan?

The Great Lakes State in categorized in the report's East North Central region, which falls pretty much in the middle of the pack with an average BAC of 0.072%.

The report looked at four cities in Michigan: Detroit (0.094%), Rochester (0.088%), Livonia (0.076%) and Westland (0.048%).

This is the second Alcohol Consumption Report BACtrack has released that provides insights into drinking habits throughout the U.S.

The data was collected from nearly 300,000 unique BAC tests that were collected anonymously from users of BACtrack Mobile and BACtrack Vio smartphone breathalyzers.

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