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Designated Drivers Often Fail To Abstain From Drinking

Because most individuals are aware of the severity of drinking and driving and how dangerous it can be for anyone on the roadway, we often hear of the use of “designated drivers” as a way for a group of people consume alcohol and get taken home safely by one person who agrees not to drink. For teenagers and adults, this is thought to greatly reduce the threats of injuries and accidents caused by drunken driving. But according to Npr.org, many designated drivers may be drinking, too.

Researchers are reported to have conducted a test in which they gave breath tests to over one thousand young adults around thirty years old that were leaving an out-of-state bar on a Saturday night. Surprisingly, they found that 41% of the 165 designated drivers had been drinking, while almost 20% had been drinking enough to be considered impaired. This seems to stem from the fact that many U.S. drivers think that it is acceptable for a designated driver to drink as long as his or her blood alcohol level is below the legal limit.

From the perspective of our personal injury lawyers, a problem is that it is difficult for anyone gauge their blood alcohol content while they are drinking. When drivers’ driving skills are tested in laboratories, some studies have found that driving skills became impaired with a blood alcohol level of 0.02% and that it is difficult for almost everyone to drive well at a level of 0.05%. Both of these levels are much lower than the 0.08% that remains to be the current legal limit across the country. The report states that after these studies were released in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, the National Transportation Safety Board called for lowering the blood alcohol limit to 0.05%.

A crucial method in preventing drunk driving besides lowering the blood alcohol limit is to increase the use of communication campaigns that illustrate a designated driver must be someone who abstains from drinking entirely. Also remember that if you are acting as a designated driver but cannot resist drinking in the process, then it is best not to volunteer to take on this role. If you do offer to be a designated driver and drink at any point in the process, calling for a ride or taking a taxi home are two simple alternatives that may prevent an accident for you and your friends.

In 2011, almost 9,900 people were killed and approximately 350,000 were injured due to drunk driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Every accident, injury, or death impacts those directly involved and may cause pain and suffering to family and friends. Our attorneys highly encourage all motorists to refrain from drinking and driving and to drive attentively and responsibly. If you have been seriously injured, or lost a loved one in an accident due to a drunk driver, please contact our law firm to learn about what compensation may be available to you.