The concept of assigning a designated driver is an outdated one at best. Most folks assume that it is okay for the designated driver to have a drink or two, but are not aware how much this affects their motor skills. The purpose of a designated driver is to secure the fate of the drunken party getting home safely, and the actions of a designated driver can make the difference between life and death.
A University of Florida research team, led by Adam Berry, conducted a field-study on more than 1,000 individuals as they were leaving bars between 10pm and 2:30pm on six separate Friday nights in Gainesville, FL. According to the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, the mean age of all contributors was 28. The blood-alcohol content was measured for each participant. Only 165 individuals of the 1,071 involved identified themselves as a designated driver. Of those 165 designated drivers, 35% of them had consumed alcohol. The study concluded that more than half of the designated drivers that consumed alcohol had a blood-alcohol content of .05 percent or greater.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, at a legal-to-drive BAC level of .05, the risk of having a motor-vehicle accident increases by 39%. The truth is; alcohol begins to impair your vision and motor skills at .02 BAC. This may explain the motive for countries, which are demographically and economically comparable to the United States, presently implement a legal BAC limit of .05 when behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
Of all developed countries, the U.S. allows the highest limit for BAC when driving. As you may be in compliance with the legal BAC limit for driving, it does not necessarily mean you are in compliance with your job as a designated driver. The key is to designate a person to stay sober before going out, before the drinking begins.
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