How safe is your 'designated driver'?

June 24, 2013 by The Farber Law Group

bellevue drunk driving car accident lawyerThe Farber Law Group represents many people who have been seriously injured due to motor vehicle accidents caused by a drunken driver and the family of those who have been killed. We often write about the myriad ways that Washington state and King County are working to combat alcohol-involved car accidents.

For many years, the concept of a "designated driver" has been promoted to reduce alcohol-involved car accidents. A "designated driver" is a person who abstains from drinking alcohol at a social event in order to drive his/her family members and friends home safely. But now a new study begs one to answer the question, "How safe is your designated driver?"

Often the "designated driver" is the one in the party that appears the least intoxicated or has consumed the least amount of alcohol during the evening. In this scenario, the designated driver can still be at risk to other motorists on the highway and every passenger in the car.

A study, Breath Alcohol Concentrations of Designated Drivers, published by by Adam E. Barry, PH.D., Beth H. Chaney, PH.D., and Michael L. Stellefson, PH.D., of the Department of Health Education and Behavior, University of Florida, Gainesville, FLA suggests that, in up to one-third of their study participants, the designated driver was impaired.

In a similar study conducted by NPR, young adults leaving a bar were asked to take a breathalyzer test on a Saturday night. In that study, 41% of those that were the designated driver had consumed alcohol and 20% had been drinking to the level where they measured impaired.

When drivers consume alcohol before they drive, they can still be impaired even if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is only 0.02%. In the United States, the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for impaired driving is 0.08% but in 100 other countries, the BAC limit is 0.05% or lower. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has been asking states to lower their BAC limits to 0.05% because even under 0.08%, a driver can be impaired.

So, unequivocally, the safest designated driver is one who refrains from alcohol completely.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent those who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and the families of those killed. Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.