Study reveals the facts about whether designated drivers stay sober

By Restovich Braun & Associates | 10/25/2016 |

On behalf of Thomas Braun at Restovich Braun & Associates

A recent study shows that almost half of designated drivers had alcohol in their system.

In an effort to reduce the number of drunk driving accidents, people in Rochester are encouraged to use a designated driver. This could be a car service that offers rides to people who are too impaired to drive or it could be an arrangement between friends. If the latter, it usually means that one person abstains from consuming alcohol so that everyone arrives home safely. However, a recent study indicates that designated drivers may not always be sober.

Searching for designated drivers

To understand the behaviors of designated drivers, researchers from the University of Florida gathered information relating to drinking and driving from people who were coming out of bars. Over 1,000 people agreed to submit to the questions and take a handheld breath test. The surveys and testing was done on weekends when a football game was scheduled at the local college.

When the data was analyzed later, researchers found that out of the 15 percent who admitted to being designated drivers, close to 40 percent had consumed alcohol. Additionally, the blood alcohol level content for half of that group was over or at .05.

Debate over whether designated drivers should drink

When people are asked whether it is okay for a designated driver to drink, the answers vary. Some people have stated that it is okay for a designated driver to have one alcoholic drink. Others have said that as long as the driver is not legally drunk, it's okay. A different group of people may choose whoever is least drunk to act as the designated driver. Still, others believe that designated drivers should remain completely sober.

Impairment can occur at lower levels

Many people think that it is okay to have alcohol as long as the BAC remains under the legal limit. However, U.S. News & World Report states that impairment can occur at lower levels. For example, when people reach .07, their cognitive skills are affected. Depth perception problems and visual issues can occur when a person's BAC is just .05.

CBS News points out that in reference to the Florida study, "changes in their psychomotor functions and driving abilities" was noted for people who were designated drivers and consumed alcohol. Women usually reach a higher BAC then men. A separate report showed that men and women who weigh the same and drink the same amount of drinks will have different BACs. For women, they will reach a BAC of .101 after three drinks while a man's BAC will be .087.

Drunk driving can seriously kill or injure others

In 2014, 88 people lost their lives in drunk driving accidents, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. DUI also caused injury to over 2,000 people. The injuries from such accidents can be life-changing, leaving victims paralyzed, unable to work or suffering constant physical pain.

When people are the victims of negligent drivers, they should understand that they have rights. Therefore, they may want to sit down with an attorney to learn what those rights are.