David J. Celuch
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Should you trust a designated driver?

If you are like a number of other Oregon citizens, you may unwind by going out for drinks with friends or attending a party. You may even plan ahead by designating a driver to stay sober throughout the evening, so that he or she may drive the others safely home. Yet, even though you may trust that the designated driver is sober and able to drive safe, you might be mistaken. A report released in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that up to 40 percent of designated drivers have consumed alcohol during the evening and may not be as sober as you think.

Researchers in the study looked at bar patrons over a period of three months. They targeted designated drivers and gave them a breath test to determine the drivers’ blood alcohol content level. Surprisingly, 40 percent of designated drivers had consumed alcohol to some degree and 18 percent had a BAC level of 0.05 percent or higher. Although the legal limit in most U.S. states is 0.08 percent, a 0.05 percent BAC can cause serious driving impairments.

At 0.05 percent, your emotions and behaviors may intensify. You may lose the ability to focus your eyes, which can make it difficulty to see clearly. Furthermore, your coordination, judgement, inhibitions and reaction times will all be affected. Although you may feel able to drive, these factors can make it difficult to react in certain driving situations. Before climbing in the car with a designated driver, ensure he or she is sober.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.

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Portland, OR 97201

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