Study on impaired designated drivers

According to a recent study done by the University of Florida, some designated drivers still drink.

In Pennsylvania, 28 percent of all traffic deaths were alcohol-related in 2014 according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. While the alcohol-related deaths have been decreasing over the last few years, drunk driving is still an issue. According to a recent study, it is possible that some of these accidents could have been the fault of a designated driver.

Designated drivers not abstaining

Recently, the University of Florida conducted six field studies over the course of three months. The researchers conducted anonymous intercept interviews with over 1,050 patrons as they were leaving bars in the southeast region of the country. Of the people interviewed, 165 characterized themselves as being designated drivers. As part of the intercept interview, patrons were asked about their behaviors and administered a breath test. When researchers examined the results of the tests, they discovered that approximately 40 percent of these designated drivers had in fact consumed alcohol.

What constitutes impaired driving

Laws across the United States establish the legal limit at a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent. However, many experts agree that anyone with a blood alcohol content level of 0.05 percent should already be considered an impaired driver.

According to the study, some drivers had consumed enough alcohol to reach impairment status. Researchers found that 18 percent of the designated drivers interviewed had a breath alcohol concentration higher than 0.05 percent while 17 percent had a BAC of between 0.02 percent and 0.049 percent. The researchers also gave the participants an Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test and found that there was a difference in the driving skills and psychomotor functions between designated drivers with little to no alcohol in their system and those that had a BAC over the 0.05.

The impact

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person's blood alcohol concentration may affect his or her ability to drive in the following ways:

  • Because of a lack of perception, speed control and concentration, a person with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent is considered legally impaired.
  • The lessening of alertness, decision-making skills, coordination, and reaction time is severely diminished at 0.05 percent.
  • Because of reduction in both multitasking abilities and visual functions, a person may not be able to react or make decisions fast enough while driving at 0.02 percent.

If a designated driver chooses to drink, the likelihood of an accident occurring increases.

When an impaired person gets behind the wheel in Philadelphia, he or she should take responsibility for any accidents that may happen. An attorney with experience related to drunk driving may be able to help an injured party receive compensation.