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Georgia DUI Victims Are Sometimes Injured by Designated Drivers

Most people really don’t think that having just one or two drinks can impair their ability to drive safely on the roads, which is why many designated drivers in Georgia and nationwide often have a few alcoholic drinks before taking the wheel. Isn’t the point of a designated driver to be a sober driver? However, a recent study polled so-called designated drivers to find out if they abstain from drinking alcohol prior to taking the wheel.

Researchers at the University of Florida conducted six field studies over three months in a college community restaurant and bar district to determine if designated drivers were abstaining from drinking, if designated and non-designated drivers behaviors were different, and whether the alcohol consumption by the designated drivers affected driving performance or caused impairment. The study, Breath Alcohol Concentrations of Designated Drivers, was published in the July 2013 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

The specifics of the study included:

  • 1,071 bar patrons were polled
  • Most people polled were white, male college students
  • Approximately 40% of the designated drivers polled did not abstain from drinking
  • Of those 40%, about 17% had a BAC between .02 and .049, and 18% recorded BACs at .05 or greater
  • The driving ability of those with a greater BAC level was significantly affected

Designated Drivers May Be Impaired Behind the Wheel

This study reveals that many designated drivers are, in fact, failing to abstain from drinking alcohol. What’s more shocking is the percentage of those designated drivers who drank enough alcohol to register a .05 BAC.  While the current drunk driving law stands at .08 BAC, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and others support the legal limit to be lowered to .05 BAC.

Having a BAC of .02 to .05 is still driving impaired. Sadly, many designated drivers don’t realize this, which means our nation has a serious problem on our hands. If designated drivers think they can drink and drive, they need to think again. Designated drivers have a duty to their passengers, themselves, and to others sharing the road with them to stay sober and safe.

As Georgia drunk driving victim attorneys, we know that any amount of alcohol can affect a driver’s judgment, reactions, and driving ability. Even one drink can impair a driver from driving safely and place everyone in that car and others on the road in danger. Sadly, there are nearly 10,000 people who die and 170,000 people injured in alcohol-related accidents in our nation every year, according to the NTSB.

If you have been injured or your loved one has been killed by a buzzed or drunk driver in Georgia, you have rights. Contact a knowledgeable Peachtree City drunk driving victim attorney at the Law Offices of Shane Smith at 770.487.8999 today.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia