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Study: Designated drivers often consume alcohol

A new study released this year shows that at least 35 percent of designated drivers consume alcohol and out of that number 20 percent had a BAC above 0.05.
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    December 06, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- San Francisco is a vibrant city and at the end of a busy work day many people take advantage of the dozens of restaurants and bars to relax. Often, this includes having alcoholic drinks and sometimes people are arrested and charged with a DUI.

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, 180,212 people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in 2011. The department's numbers also show that 77 percent of all charges for drunk driving resulted in a conviction during 2009. The state has tried to convince people to avoid drinking and driving by setting up sobriety checkpoints and 2012 survey shows that the majority of drivers approve this type of action.

Designated drivers

One way that state agencies and local organizations try to encourage people from driving their vehicles after consuming alcohol is to use a designated driver. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define two types of designated drivers. The first is the most common and this is a person who agrees not to drink any alcoholic beverages and make sure that friends and family arrive home safely.

The second definition is a driver who can consume alcohol as long as their blood alcohol content does not go above the legal limit of 0.08. The CDC conducted a review of promotion programs that encourage people who drink to use a designated driver. These programs often offer free non-alcoholic beverages to designated drivers, free food or other incentives but the CDC stated that it did not find these programs to be overly successful. They cited a lack of scientific study as their reason for the finding.

New study on designated drivers

A new study released this year shows that at least 35 percent of designated drivers consume alcohol and out of that number 20 percent had a BAC above 0.05, according to The Washington Post. The study was conducted near a university during the football season and people were asked to participate as they were leaving local bars on nights that home games were held.

Facts about the study:
- The average age of the participants was 28.
- Over 1,000 people participated in the study.
- 165 people identified themselves as designated drivers.
- Researchers used a breath test to measure participants' BAC.
- Participants filled out a survey that focused on demographics and behaviors related to alcohol.

While researchers admitted that the study had limitations, the fact that many of them had consumed alcohol is worth noting. According to UPR news, studies conducted in laboratories have shown that a person's ability to drive can be affected by a BAC of 0.02 and when people have a BAC of 0.05, their driving skills greatly suffer.

Being arrested and convicted of drunk driving comes with several penalties and consequences. When someone is facing a DUI charge, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney who can advise them as to their options and protect their legal rights.

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