Designated drivers, who chose to get their friends safely home after a night out, might not be as sober as you would think. A new report shows that a fifth of the so-called responsible drivers are under the influence when they get behind the wheel.

Researchers in Florida, who reported their findings in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, tested more than 1,000 people as they left bars, including 165 who said they were designated drivers. About 40 percent of those drivers had been drinking, including 18 percent who had enough alcohol to impair their driving.

According to the researchers, designated drivers often are chosen because they’re the least intoxicated among their group, or they have successfully driven a car while intoxicated before. It is a point worth noting because there isn’t any agreed-upon definition of a “designated driver.”

Just last month, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended lowering the legal blood-alcohol content level for driving to .05. To put it into a global context, the current legal limit of .08 in the United States is on the higher end.

Stay Sober

Designated drivers must stay sharp and alert as they contend with pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles. Inside the car, drunken friends may be bouncing around, messing with the radio, or whining to stop at the closest fast-food joint.

The organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving says nearly 10,000 Americans were killed and approximately 350,000 people were injured by drunk drivers in 2011, the last year for which complete data is available.

Our personal injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm suggest deciding who’s going to be the designated driver and making sure that person does not drink. Of course plans can change. That’s the time to take advantage of public transportation or call a cab. A cab fare costs much less than dealing with the consequences of a DUI charge or worse, an accident, in which someone is injured or killed.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a South Carolina car accident caused by another driver, talk to the Joye Law Firm. Call 888-594-7734 or use our online contact form.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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