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Study discovers designated drivers still drink

| Apr 26, 2014 | Motor Vehicle Accident

A designated driver is a person that agrees to abstain from alcohol in order to drive others home at the end of the night. However, research done at the University of Florida recently discovered that more than a third of designated drivers still consume alcohol.

Designated drivers still drink

In order to come to this conclusion, researchers surveyed more than 1,000 people leaving bars between the hours of 10:30 pm and 2:30 am on six consecutive Friday nights. The participants that identified themselves as designated drivers were required to answer a brief questionnaire and blow into a breathalyzer. Upon analyzing the data they collected, researchers determined that:

  • Approximately 35 percent of all designated drivers admitted to drinking
  • Half of the designated drivers had blood alcohol levels between 0.02 and 0.05
  • 18 percent of designated drivers had blood alcohol levels at or above 0.05
  • Some designated drivers had blood alcohol levels above the legal limit of 0.08

Although this researcher was conducted in a college town, the average age of the participants was 28, indicating that this is an issue among designated drivers of all ages.

Alcohol’s impact on drivers

Although the legal blood alcohol content limit is 0.08 for drivers in the U.S., alcohol can have an impact on people’s driving abilities at lower blood alcohol levels. For example, at a blood alcohol level of 0.02, a driver’s ability to perform two functions at a time will weaken and they will also start to experience some loss of judgment. At a blood alcohol level of 0.05, a driver may have reduced responses to emergency driving situations and difficulties with concentration, speed control and short-term memory loss.

Comparative negligence

According to the Illinois Department of Insurance, Illinois is a comparative negligence state. In a drunk driving accident where property or bodily damage was incurred, comparative negligence laws dictate how the responsibility for the collision will be shared between the involved parties.  Due to these laws, an injured party may only recover damages following a collision if they were less than 50 percent at fault for the accident. However, the recovered amount can be altered depending on how at-fault each driver was for the accident. For example, if one driver was 80 percent at fault while the other was only 20 percent at fault, that driver can collect damages because their fault amount was less than 50 percent.

Although it may initially seem like a drunk driver should take full responsibility for an injurious accident, proving liability is still complex. Those injured in a drunk driving accident should seek the assistance of an attorney who can ensure their rights to proper compensation are protected.