When you climb into the car with a designated driver, you may feel as though you are choosing a safe option, as opposed to driving while intoxicated. What many people may not consider, however, is that the designated driver may not be completely sober. Designated drivers usually travel with their friends and enjoy a night out, with the understanding that they will not drink alcohol and provide a safe ride home for their friends. Studies show that these drivers may actually have a drink or two before getting behind the wheel.
A study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs reported that up to 40% of designated drivers drank alcohol before driving their friends home. Approximately 18% of these drivers had a blood alcohol content level of 0.05% or higher, which is close to the legal limit of 0.08%. In some states, drivers who have a BAC level of 0.05 may be arrested, as they could be unsafe to drive.
Drivers who have a BAC of 0.05% may have delayed response times while driving, and could have trouble seeing clearly. Drivers at this level of intoxication may have trouble focusing on the road and could suffer from dizziness as well as weakened muscle response times. All of these factors can lead drivers to be involved in a serious car accident, which could lead to injuries and even death.
Rather than appoint a designated driver to stay sober during the evening, you may want to consider alternative options, such as car ride companies that will provide a safe way home.
This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.