Having a designated driver is the smartest thing that you can do if you plan to go out drinking. Our Boston drunk driving accident lawyers know that driving while intoxicated could cost you your life or could result in you becoming involved in a crash that injures or kills others. To avoid these terrible fates, having a sober friend or relative to drive you home is highly recommended. In fact, many public service campaigns and anti-DUI efforts center around the idea of a designated driver.
Unfortunately, designated drivers who are supposed to stay sober may not be taking their obligations seriously enough. In fact, a recent study conducted by University of Florida Gainesville revealed that many designated drivers end up having a drink or even several drinks while they are out. Not only that, but as many as 18 percent of designated drivers have blood-alcohol contents above .05 percent.
Designed Drivers May be Drunk
The University of Florida study involved taking a look at the behavior of 1,000 people leaving bars. Researchers found these bar-goers by standing outside of bars near a college in the Southeast on weekends. The data was collected on Friday evenings prior to scheduled Saturday football games. Researchers recruited patrons leaving the bar between 10:00 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. to answer a 3-5 minute survey on alcohol-related behaviors. The blood-alcohol content of participants was then measured using a handheld BAC test.
Among the 1,000 individuals outside of bars interviewed, 165 of the people in the study were designed drivers. Of the 165 designated drivers who were supposed to see their friends home safely, the study revealed that around 58 had consumed alcoholic beverages while out at the bar. As the Washington Post reports, this means that just about 1/3 of designated drivers had abstained.
While having just one drink may not seem so bad, the study also revealed that around half of these 58 drinking designated drivers- a total of 29- had blood alcohol contents that exceeded .05. In total, this meant that about 20 percent of all designated drivers had a blood-alcohol content that was high enough to affect their driving skills.
While .05 is admittedly below the .08 legal limit, a driver who has consumed this much alcohol sees his crash risk increase. In fact, recently, the NHTSA urged lawmakers to lower the legal limit from .08 to .05 in order to reduce the risk of crashes related to drunk driving.
Designed Drivers Need to Stay Sober
While researchers admit that the study has its limitations, including the limited sample size, the outcome is still disturbing. Designated drivers are supposed to keep people safe and avoid the dangers associated with a drunk driving crash. If designated drivers aren’t keeping their promises and living up to their obligations everyone from passengers to other motorists on the road is put in serious jeopardy.
If you or a loved one was involved in a drunk driving accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.
More Blog Entries:
New England Drunk Driving Dangers on Independence Day, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog, June 30, 2013