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Labor Day 2019: Did Your Designated Driver Drink Too Much?

Written by Ankin Law Office

Labor Day partygoers in Chicago are encouraged to use a designated driver to ensure they make it home safely, but studies reveal that selected drivers may not be staying sober.

Designated Drivers Should Not Drink

Designated drivers should be chosen based on complete sobriety. Instead, many people choose their designated drivers based on who in the group is the “least drunk.” A recent research study conducted at the University of Florida shows that about half of  “designated drivers” still consume alcohol. Alarmingly, approximately 20% of DDs who drink have blood-alcohol levels of 0.05% or higher.

The study, published in The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, conducted breath testing on 1,071 volunteers who identified themselves as designated drivers for their group. All participants were party-goers at a Florida university area bar. Researchers tested the participants between the hours of 10:00 pm and 2:30 am as they were leaving the bar. Out of 165 people tested, at least half had consumed alcohol. 

In all states, the legal limit for driving is 0.08. Depending on a person’s weight and alcohol consumption, a person may become intoxicated with even a lower BAC level. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, one beer (12 ounces), one glass of wine (5 ounces), or one glass of liquor (1.5 ounces) is considered a “standard drink.” Consuming more than two drinks within a two hour period usually raises a person’s BAC above the legal limit.

Choosing a Designated Driver

During Labor Day Weekend, drunk driving is a significant problem. As a three-day weekend that marks the end of summer, many people are traveling to recreational destinations and partying with friends. If alcohol is involved, choosing a sober designated driver can prevent fatal car crashes often seen by Chicago car accident lawyers. People should:

  • Plan ahead before everyone starts drinking. They shouldn’t wait until people begin drinking, then rely on the “least drunk” person in the group.
  • Choose a responsible, licensed driver who has not consumed any alcohol. Even one drink can impair a driver’s alertness, coordination, and reaction times.
  • Call a taxi, a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft, or a sober friend or family member.
  • Consider sharing the cost of a limousine or a party bus with friends, so there are no concerns about going to the event or getting safely back home.