Many "Designated Drivers" Have Been Drinking
Unfortunately, a recent study has shown that many people who deem themselves the designated driver, may actually be drinking over the legal limit or at least to an unsafe point, before they gett behind the wheel to drive themselves and others home. Having a person who agrees to be a designated driver on a night out where people are drinking is a great way to help insure that people are not drinking and driving, however this is not a safe solution if the person who has agreed to abstain from drinking ends up drinking as well.
Many people believe they can have a certain number of drinks and still be okay to drive, however this is not necessarily the case. Even if the driver feels like they are sober enough to drive and that it is safe for them to take the wheel, they may still be impaired and it may not be safe to be driving. A recent study gave everyone leaving a bar a breathalyzer, and of the people who were the designated drivers 41 percent had been drinking and close to 20 percent were above the legal driving limit. Also, many people believe the person who is the least drunk or who has been drinking the least is suitable to be a designated driver, even though that person may have actually consumed a lot of alcohol.
According to NPR, in the United States many people that were asked, expressed that they believed it was okay for the designated driver to drink some as long as they were under the legal BAC of 0.08 percent. However, there have been studies that have shown that drivers may actually be unable to drive well when their BAC is as low as 0.02 and that most everyone with a BAC of 0.05 percent is unable to drive well. This is scary because this means that many people who are impaired in some capacity from alcohol are driving and not worried about it at all. Just because someone is not at the point where they would necessarily get a ticket for driving while under the influence does not mean that they are not impaired and certainly does not mean that it is safe for them to be the driver.
The National Transportation Safety Board has called for lowering the legal drinking limit to a BAC of 0.05 to help make up for the discrepancy mentioned above and to help keep people that have been drinking from driving. The bottom line is that a designated driver really should abstain from drinking entirely to insure that they are not impaired while driving and to keep themselves and their passengers safe while on the road.
Our personal injury attorneys ask all drivers to not drink and drive in any capacity and remind everyone that if they get into an accident while drinking they may not only face criminal charges but may also face negligence or even wrongful death charges from their passengers or the families of their passengers.