A study recently conducted by the University of Florida found that many so-called designated drivers, who were expected to remain sober, were anything but.
The researchers analyzed breath tests conducted on people who were heading out of a bar on a weekend. The researchers focused on people who described themselves as designated drivers, and found that many designated drivers were not completely sober. Some of them probably had enough alcohol in their system to fail a DUI test.
The University of Florida researchers administered alcohol tests to people who were heading out of bars in Gainesville over a weekend. About 165 people admitted that they were designated drivers, and out of these 41 percent had been drinking in the bar.
Not all of the designated drivers were legally inebriated. Some of them had blood alcohol levels below .02, so they would have cleared a breathalyzer test if they had been pulled over by police. About 18% of the designated driver had levels of .05 or more.
In Florida, as in the rest of the country, the maximum legally permissible: alcohol level is .08%. If a designated driver is pulled over at a checkpoint, and is found to have a blood alcohol level of .08 or more, he will be arrested for DUI.
This research indicates that many designated drivers are unable to stay away from alcohol, and in many cases are not able to avoid becoming inebriated or legally intoxicated. That should be a warning to anybody who's using a designated driver to get home safe after an evening of drinking. While it is not necessary that the designated driver completely abstains from drinking, he should however refrain from drinking so much that he is considered legally intoxicated.