We have previously written about how easy it can be to unintentionally drive “drunk.” Because even if you feel completely sober as a result of your personal tolerance, if your blood alcohol content (BAC) has not metabolized below the legal limit of .08 when you sit behind the wheel, you could be cited for driving under the influence (DUI). As a result, you should always assign designated driver duty to a non-drinker for the evening or call a cab if you are in doubt of where your BAC level is.
However, a new study indicates that you may not always be safe in the hands of your designated driver. The study, which appears in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, indicates that four in ten designated drivers drink before driving. In about 20 percent of cases, threes designated drivers are either legally drunk or potentially impaired by the time that they transport their friends, colleagues or loved ones home.
Designated drivers need not necessarily abstain completely from drinking during a night out. However, in order to be successful, safe and responsible designated drivers, they do need to drink very little and stop drinking hours before getting behind the wheel. Simply because someone has opted to be a designated driver does not mean that he or she is immune from DUI charges.
If you are going to be drinking somewhere other than home, please make smart decisions about how you will return for the night. If your designated driver is irresponsible, call a cab. And if you have had one too many or suspect that you might have, do not get behind the wheel. The consequences of a DUI conviction can be severe and are not worth the risk.
Source: CBS News, “Study: One-fifth of designated drivers impaired behind wheel,” Michelle Castillo, June 10, 2013