Should you trust a designated driver?

Before you head out for a night on the town, you may designate a driver to get you home safely. The designated driver is a person in the group who volunteers to refrain from drinking. Everyone else in the group is able to enjoy drinks and not worry about how they will get home. Yet studies show that a high percentage of designated drivers do not refrain from drinking at all, and some end up with a blood alcohol content level that can cause impaired driving. 

It is important to keep in mind that alcohol affects everyone differently. A person’s weight, metabolism and general health all play a role in how alcohol affects their ability to operate a vehicle. A BAC level of 0.02 for instance, can interfere with a person’s ability to make judgements. A BAC level of 0.05 can influence your coordination, decrease your response time and inhibit your ability to see. 

Research reported in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs determined that as many as 40% of designated drivers had alcoholic beverages at some point during the evening, even though they were to refrain from drinking. Furthermore, 18% of those drivers had a BAC level of 0.05 or over. While this is not over the legal limit of 0.08, it is still enough to cause significantly impaired driving. 

Instead of designating a driver, you may want to call an Uber or Lyft for a ride. Studies show that these driving companies have helped to reduce the DUI rate in some major cities across the nation. The ease and accessibility of calling a driver to pick you up and take you home helps people avoid driving while intoxicated.