Are designated drivers a safe option?

If you are headed out for a night on the town, you may have designated a driver who will sustain from drinking and ensure everyone in your group gets home safely. While this may seem like a good game plan and a safe option to keep drivers you from drinking and driving, it is not always fool-proof. In fact, studies show that even designated drivers are not completely sober and may put others at risk of becoming involved in a drunk driving accident

A study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that as many as 40% of designated drivers are not sober when they get behind the wheel to drive their friends home. Of those intoxicated designated drivers, approximately 18% had a blood alcohol content level of at least 0.05 or higher. 

Although the legal limit is 0.08 in the state, lower blood alcohol concentrations can have dangerous effects on drivers. With a BAC level of 0.05, you may display exaggerated behaviors, including loud speaking and uncontrollable movements. It is harder for you to control small muscles, which can make it difficult for you to focus your eyesight. You may have blurred vision and be unable to see objects in the road, such as pedestrians or animals. Furthermore, you often have a slowed response time, making it hard for your to react to hazards in the road. 

Even with a BAC level of 0.02, drivers may make quick and thoughtless decisions, such as driving when they are not able to concentrate fully on the road. Rather than trust a designated driver to not partake in the evenings’ festivities, calling an Uber or Lyft may be a better option. 

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.