Study finds designated drivers often too drunk to drive

Numerous public awareness campaigns across the country have encouraged those who are planning a night out to ensure they have a designated driver to get them home safely. Taking such measures is a wise choice for anyone who is drinking, but unfortunately, not all designated drivers take their role as seriously as they should.

According to a study recently published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 40 percent of people who agree to act as designated drivers actually drink alcohol during the evening. In addition, approximately one-fifth of designated drivers consume enough alcohol to impair their driving ability.

While the legal blood alcohol limit for motorists in Massachusetts is 0.08 percent, experts suggest that drivers are impaired when their blood alcohol concentration is 0.05 percent. In the study, after performing a breath test, 18 percent of the 165 designated drivers examined had a BAC of 0.05 percent or above.

These findings are troubling for all motorists and passengers on the road, including those who rely on designated drivers to provide a safe mode of transportation.

Protect yourself from a dangerous drunk driving accident in Massachusetts

Drunk driving continues to be a serious problem for individuals in Massachusetts and across the country. In 2010, drunk drivers were responsible for over 30 percent of all fatalities caused by motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. In total, over 10,225 people died in drunk driving collisions that year.

In Massachusetts alone, 115 people were killed in auto accidents caused by drunk drivers in 2010, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Drunk driving was responsible for a higher percentage of traffic fatalities in Massachusetts that year, as the 115 deaths accounted for 36 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities in 2010.

Individuals in Massachusetts should be proactive to ensure their safety on the road. For instance, if someone is planning on consuming alcohol, he or she should not only designate a driver for the evening, but also ensure the designated driver is not intending on consuming alcohol during the night. If it appears that the designated driver has consumed alcohol, those in the group should consider an alternate mode of transportation, such as a taxi, to get home safely.

When someone is injured in a drunk driving accident, he or she may be entitled to damages to cover the harm caused in the motor vehicle collision. In such cases, those who have been injured should seek the advice of a skilled personal injury attorney to ensure their rights are protected.