The Definition of A Designated Driver

Updated on September 14th, 2015 at 08:41 pm

If you are a designated driver, you have one job: stay sober for the night and get everybody home safe. Unfortunately, new research from the Journal of Studies on Alcohol suggests that many of us have redefined the job description to “be less drunk than the rest of your friends.”

During a three month period, researchers at the University of Florida tested the blood alcohol levels of more than a thousand people leaving bars in Gainesville on Saturday nights after Gators games. They found that 41% of the people who identified themselves as designated drivers had been drinking, and that 18% had BAC levels of 0.05 grams or more. The authors of the study went on to conclude that there needs to be a “consensus across researcher, layperson, and communication campaigns that a designated driver must be someone who has abstained from drinking entirely.”

The conclusion has some merit. Even if you plan to have just one beer at the beginning of the night, once you order that first round, it takes some will power to say no to a second—especially when your friends are getting tipsy. And alcohol causes people to underestimate the degree to which their cognitive and motor functions have been impaired. By abstaining, you can avoid the risk of driving when you might be more impaired than you realize.

More importantly, you will be less likely to give a police officer to stop you if you abstain from drinking entirely. An officer can always arrest you even if the evidence is slim because you only had one beer. But that slight odor of alcohol on your breath might be all the officer needs to arrest you and put you into the system. If you find yourself in need of a DUI defense attorney, do not hesitate to call the best.

Sure, you won’t have as much fun for a night. But at least you’ll avoid the hangover, your friends will owe you one, and you will eliminate the risk of a DUI/DWI prosecution.

Related links:

From the Washington Post: Go Home Designated Drivers You’re Drunk

From NPR: Designated Drives of Fail to Abstain from Drinking

About Bruckheim & Patel

As a former Prosecutor, Michael Bruckheim has experience on the other side of the aisle. Prior to founding his law office in 2010, Mr. Bruckheim enjoyed a diverse career in litigation at the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia (OAG) serving for over 11 years. He began his OAG career as a prosecutor in the Criminal Section where he conducted numerous bench and jury trials in traffic and criminal misdemeanor matters. Mr. Bruckheim was promoted and served as Chief of the Criminal Section at the OAG where he supervised the prosecution of DUI offenses in the District and directed a staff of over 20 attorneys.

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