Study Shows Designated Drivers Not Always Sober

By: Anna-Lysa Gayle Email
By: Anna-Lysa Gayle Email

HARRISONBURG -- A new study shows that some designated drivers aren't being as responsible as they should be.

The study conducted at the University of Florida reveals that some designated drivers drink enough to impair their driving abilities.

"It's not entirely surprising," admits Deidre Myers, recent college grad working as a server at the Artful Dodger.

"It seems a lot of designated drivers take the title not drunk enough to get arrested, not necessarily that they are going to be sober the whole time," said Myers.

The study shows that 40 percent of designated drivers drink.

Researchers also point to 20 percent of drivers who drink enough to impair their ability to drive.

"You don't realize that you are significantly impaired and your chances of crashing are significantly increased," said Dr. Stephen Phillips, Director of Occupational Health at RMH.

He warns designated drivers to be extremely careful.

"If you've been drinking it's best not to drive at all," said Phillips.

His biggest fear for them is ultimately death.

"Once you get above a minimal level which is less than what is considered intoxicated while driving...once you get a above a low level. Your chances of crashing are increased and your reaction times are diminished," said Phillips.

"I would just question why you're deciding to go out and why you think that it's more important for you to be a little bit buzzed or for you to make sure that you and your friends all get home on time or to get home safely," said Myers.

Dr. Phillips says the rule of thumb is to wait two hours after one glass of liquor is in your system.

Last month the National Transportation Safety board recommended lowering the blood content level to .05. Dr. Phillips says that might not be such a bad idea considering the results of the study.


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