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Designated drivers may not always be sober

A designated driver is defined as a person who will not drink alcohol in order to be able to drive members of a group home safely. Consequently, you may think that appointing a DD allows you to fully enjoy an upcoming social function without worrying about drinking a bit too much. However, a 2013 study of more than a thousand bar patrons, mostly college-age males, found that some designated drivers might be incapable of passing a sobriety test.

Testing the BAC levels of DD participants

During the study, the blood alcohol test or BAC was given to 165 people who identified themselves as designated drivers for the evening. Of those, 108 were found to have no alcohol in their systems. Another 17 percent had a low BAC reading of between 0.02 and 0.49. The remaining 18 percent, or 29 individuals, registered 0.05 percent or higher. While the legal limit is 0.08, experts believe that a driver is significantly impaired at the 0.05 level. When you add in that passengers may be noisy and rowdy and that loud music may be playing, the already impaired DD will likely find that such distractions will make safe driving difficult.

Designated driver pros and cons

Alcohol use has been studied at many universities and the value of the designated driver examined. Since alcohol tolerance varies from one person to another, it is difficult to say whether a certain amount of beer, wine or liquor can be imbibed by any one DD without causing some kind of impairment. The best solution, therefore, is for the DD not to drink at all. Some researchers also feel that naming a designated driver can result in binge drinking, because this makes the other people in the group feel they have license to drink as much as they want.

On the positive side

Studies have shown that designated drivers have been responsible for saving thousands of lives and helped their passengers avoid countless injuries. It has also been found that most of those who appoint designated drivers are either heavy drinkers or problem drinkers who recognize the danger they could pose to themselves and others if allowed behind the wheel.

Representation is available

If you are the designated driver, you might be involved in a car accident even if you are perfectly sober. If it is found that you did not have a BAC level of 0.8 but were visibly impaired, you could be arrested on an OWVI charge. The consequences could be considerable, but support is a phone call away. Remember that representation is available from an experienced attorney interested in ensuring that your rights are protected.

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