Drunk Driving Accidents a Serious Risk When Designated Drivers Drink
Designated drivers are supposed to provide a safe ride home for their friends or family members who have been drinking. Unfortunately, one recent study shows that designated drivers may not actually be 100 percent sober. In fact, the study indicates that many designated drivers have enough to drink to be considered impaired by alcohol.
Our Wilmington accident lawyers know that a driver's accident risk increases as soon as the individual has a BAC of .02 or higher, even though the legal limit is .08. This means that a designated driver who has even one drink a few hours before he is scheduled to drive home may be more likely to get into a crash than a driver who has had nothing to drink at all. Once the designated driver's blood-alcohol content reaches .05, his risk of an accident is significantly increased.
Because even a drink or two can have an impact on the ability to drive safely, it is generally best for designated drivers to have nothing alcoholic to drink at all. Unfortunately, a new study indicates that this rarely occurs.
Many Designated Drivers are Slightly Drunk
NPR reported on the disturbing new study of designated drivers, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Florida. The researchers tested the blood-alcohol levels of 1,071 people who were leaving Gainesville bars on a Saturday evening after a Gators home football game. Those who were leaving the bar included both drinkers and designated drivers.
In total, there were 165 people out of the 1,071 injured who described themselves as designated drivers. However, when they had their blood-alcohol content tested, 41 percent of these designated drivers had enough alcohol in their system to indicate they had been drinking. Even worse, about 20 percent of the designated drivers had consumed enough alcohol to be considered impaired.
If designated drivers consume even a little bit of alcohol, this can make everyone on the roads less safe, even when the designated drivers are slightly below the legal limit. In fact, as NPR reports, driving ability can be affected when someone has a blood-alcohol content as low as .02 percent. If the driver's blood-alcohol content reaches .05 percent, then that driver is significantly impaired and his accident risk is greatly increased. In fact, driving at .05 is so dangerous the National Transportation Safety Board has called for the states to lower the legal limit to this level.
The Dangers of Intoxicated Designated Drivers
When a designated driver gets behind the wheel after having consumed too much alcohol, that driver endangers his passengers who tried to do the smart thing and avoid a drunk driving crash. The intoxicated designated driver also endangers the other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians that share the road.
The driver can be held legally accountable for losses that are sustained if he causes an accident that injures other victims, but the ability to obtain monetary compensation is often small comfort to someone who has been injured or who has lost a loved one in a drunk driving crash.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact a Wilmington NC injury lawyer today at 1-800-FLEXNER for your free legal consultation.