For years now, law-enforcement agencies have recommended the use of a designated driver to help reduce the risk of an alcohol-related accident. The duty of the designated driver is to abstain from alcohol for the evening, and stay sober enough to take everybody home safely at the end of the evening.

However, a new study finds that relying on a designated driver may not always be the safe course of action, because very often, these motorists fail to remain sober.

The research was conducted in Florida, where researchers administered alcohol tests to persons leaving crowded bars over the weekend. Almost 1,100 bar patrons were approached as part of the research, and 165 people, who confirmed that they were the designated drivers for the evening, were given the alcohol tests.

Approximately 65% of the designated drivers had no alcohol in their systems. However, as many as 17% had an alcohol level of between .02 to . 04, and 18% of the drivers had an alcohol level of .05 or more.

The legal permissible alcohol limit in the State of Texas is .08. However, many experts believe that a person’s driving abilities can begin to get impaired as soon as he touches the .05 level, and quite a few of the designated drivers in the study were at that level.

This is highly discouraging, because it seems to indicate that many designated drivers do not take their responsibility seriously enough, and fail to keep away from alcohol for the duration of one evening.

Moreover, a designated driver who is driving with a .05 blood alcohol level could pass a breathalyzer test, but his driving skills could still be impaired because of all the distractions from the drunk passengers in his car.

The Texas auto accident lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent persons injured in car accidents across Texas.