Bruce Springsteen: BAC of just .02% can get you arrested

By Lee Cleveland, Polls and Trends - February 10, 2021

Today, media sources reported famed singer Bruce Springsteen was arrested and hit with a DWI, reckless driving and consuming alcohol in a closed area in November.

Per law enforcement, the incident occurred at Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, NJ.

The Boss, who was believed to be cooperative and obedient during the arrest, will appear in court within the next several weeks to address the charge.

Springsteen, of course, was featured in a Super Bowl commercial for Jeep last Sunday. In the 2-minute ad, the legendary performer offered a message hope in this era of American division.

So, what was Bruce Springsteen’s reported Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level at the time of the stop?

According to sources, his BAC was just .02%. In most states, including New Jersey, one needs to blow at least .08% to be considered legally drunk (or sufficiently impaired enough to warrant an arrest without question).

At 0.2%, the equivalent to one drink, a light or moderate drinker may begin to feel some effect but not nearly enough for their judgement or reflexes to be impaired. Keep in mind, a lot of legal, non-prescription drugs, such as caffeine, also impact the central nervous system.

What’s considered “one drink” (to bring about that .02% result)?


  • 4 ozs. wine
  • 1 cocktail
  • 12 ozs. beer, or
  • 1 oz. shot

A BAC of .02 % is so low that it would take just an hour of not drinking for someone to register 0% again. Conversely, if someone immediately stopped drinking after blowing a .20%, more than twice the legal limit for drunk driving in most states, it would take 12-14 hours for their BAC to reach zero.

So, what gives with Bruce?

Can you get arrested for a DWI even if your BAC is below .08%?

Answer: Yes. Let’s say you requested to be tested at the police station and an hour had elapsed from the time you were pulled over until the time you were tested – If you blew a .07% you can still get arrested. The rationale is that your blood alcohol (BAC) should have gone down by .01% so you were actually .08% at the time of driving.

But a .02% is nowhere near .07%. How can someone still be arrested with such a low BAC?

Per the Virginia DMV:

A person does not have to be drinking to be arrested for driving under the influence. Drivers can be arrested for DUI with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.00 percent if there is proof that the impairment is due to drug use. Driving after using drugs appears to be more common among young drivers (13 percent for those 16-20 years old) than older drivers (5 percent for those 21 and older).

Impaired driving means that a person’s skills – including judgement, coordination, response time, and more – are affected much earlier before the BAC reaches 0.08 percent.

It also refers to the fact that other drugs, including certain prescription drugs, over the counter medications, and illicit drugs, can affect driving skill.

Each of these has important lessons for safety.

Perhaps Bruce had a drink while on a powerful prescription drug or after doing a little pot? Maybe he was taking something else that interacted with his drink in a negative way?

Or maybe, a police officer was on a power trip and used poor judgement?

Let’s hope the Boss and the NJPD come out of this OK.