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Study Raises Concerns With Impaired Designated Drivers

After decades of public awareness work to prevent drunk driving-related accidents, most Californians should know that it is crucially important to find a sober ride home after drinking. According to a new study, however, many sober cabs are actually dangerously impaired.

Researchers surveyed 1,000 volunteer participants as they left bars to head home. One of every three participants admitted that they had consumed alcohol at the bar-even though they planned to serve as the designated driver. 

From this pool, half of the designated drivers recorded a BAC of 0.05 percent or higher. Although this is lower than the current legal limit of 0.08, it is still a far cry from sober. In fact, federal regulators recently recommended that all states lower their drunk driving limits-to 0.05 percent BAC.

Even though these drivers are not necessarily legally drunk, they still pose a big hazard to their passengers and other motorists. Similarly, a lawsuit on behalf of these victims could raise the fact that the driver was impaired-despite the fact that he or she did not necessarily break the drunk driving laws. Alcohol impairment is strong evidence of liability and this can smooth the path to the compensation victims deserve after a car crash.

Source: Daily Mail, "One in three designated drivers drink alcohol before getting behind the wheel," June 10, 2013

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