Although many people who drink understand the benefits of finding a designated driver, a study conducted by the University of Florida showed that more than one-third of designated drivers had been drinking. Their blood alcohol content levels showed impairment that affected their driving. With enhanced DUI penalties in Dallas, Texas and across the nation, designated drivers should take note.
In the study of more than 1,000 people at bars in a Southeastern Florida town, about 50 percent registered a BAC of .05 percent or higher, the new recommended maximum for driving. The professor who oversaw the study observed that people often select a designated driver by who has consumed the least amount of alcohol during the night. They may look at the person’s history of driving as someone who has been able to drink and drive previously.
The people tested in the study had an average age of 28, and most were Caucasian, male, college students. They submitted to an interview that lasted less than six minutes about their alcohol consumption and then took a breath test. Although the non-drivers registered a higher BAC level than the designated drivers, about 18 percent of the designated drivers had BAC levels at .05 percent or higher, with 17 percent registering lesser BAC levels.
While national campaigns have emphasized not consuming any alcohol at all before driving, the professor believes that the drivers think one or two drinks won’t affect driving ability. Other designated drivers might be chosen due to poor planning or at the end of the evening.
A designated driver might not know they need to drive and find out at the last minute. If they are charged with drunk driving, a DUI defense attorney might be able to mitigate the charges and accompanying penalties against them.