Many Designated Drivers Fail to Abstain from Drinking

pub.jpgA new study that focused on the blood-alcohol content of designated drivers found that most designated drivers managed to remain sober. However quite a few consumed alcohol, and some of them actually had enough alcohol in their system to cause a serious alcohol-related accident, or even be arrested for DUI.

The results of the study were published recently in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. The research was conducted by University of Florida researchers, who visited bars in Gainesville, Florida over the period of one weekend. The researchers administered alcohol tests to persons leaving bars. More than 1,000 people were approached as part of the study, and most of these people were white, young and male. Approximately 168 of these people admitted that they were the designated drivers for the evening.

Out of the 168 designated drivers, 106 or 65% had no alcohol in their systems, which means that they were in perfect condition to drive safely. However, 28 persons or 17% of the drivers had blood-alcohol levels that varied from .02% to .049% in their system.

According to many experts, the .05 mark is when a person’s driving abilities begin to get affected. At this point in time, the person’s reflexes get delayed load, his responses may get slower, and cognitive function may begin to get impaired; all of which combine to affect driving skills and increase the risk of being involved in an accident. As many as 17% of the designated drivers included in the study, were very close to the danger mark.

A further 18% had a blood alcohol level that was at .05 or more. It is not known how many of the designated drivers actually had blood-alcohol levels that were at .08, which is the maximum permissible blood-alcohol level in Indiana and around the country.

According to the researchers, it is disturbing that so many of the drivers had blood-alcohol levels that were close to the danger mark of .05. Even a driver who is operating a vehicle with just a little amount of alcohol in his blood, could be distracted enough to cause an accident because he’s traveling with a group of intoxicated passengers. These passengers may be loud, incoherent, garrulous, and otherwise very distracting for the motorist. Those factors alone increase the risk of an accident.

The researchers recommend that designated drivers absolutely abstain from alcohol, because alcohol affects different people in different ways. If the designated driver is someone with a very low tolerance for alcohol, or is not accustomed to driving, then even a couple of drinks might affect his driving ability seriously.

The Indiana personal injury lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy, LLP represent persons injured in alcohol-related car accidents and other accidents across Indiana. If you have been injured in an accident caused by drunk driving, speak with an attorney at our firm.