Designated Drivers Are Still Drinking

Pick up a drink, put down your keys, and call a cab

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Are you putting your life in the hands of a drunk driver? Close to 40 percent of designated drivers are consuming alcohol on the job, according to a study by the Department of Health and Education in Gainesville, Fla. 

Over a three-month period, researchers found that only 65 percent of designated drivers had absolutely no alcohol in their systems. The others 35 percent registered a blood-alcohol content of at least 0.02 percent.

When we go out for a few drinks, or with the intent of getting drunk, most of us do not plan on operating a vehicle that night. It has been drilled into our heads that drunk driving is dangerous and illegal, and a DUI can have lasting career and social damages. So why does this research show such high statistics of those drivers under the influence?

Adam Barry, the lead author of this recent study points to the fact that there is no agreed-upon definition of a “designated driver.”  Maybe you are known as a “good” drunk-driver. You got everyone home last New Years Eve, right? Or maybe you just didn’t have that last tequila shot that everyone else threw back, so you are the “least drunk.” There is a common consensus that you can still drive if you have only had a few drinks and stayed under the legal limit, a risky assumption to make.

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Although this study was conducted in a college town, about 40 percent of the participants were not college-aged; the average age was 28 years old. With the recent proposition to lower the legal limit to 0.05 percent, everyone, no matter the age, should take precautions when choosing who will be the DD that night. After all, a cab is going to be cheaper than a possible lawsuit.