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Many designated drivers do not refrain from drinking, study shows

For most people, ensuring they have a safe way to get home after a night of drinking is an important measure, to protect both themselves and others from harm. In many cases, people will choose to appoint one member of their party as the designated driver for the group. Generally, when people hear the term designated driver, they likely assume that the individual will refrain from consuming alcohol to protect the safety of others on the road.

Unfortunately, based on data from a study recently published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, a surprising number of designated drivers actually consume alcohol when they are expected to get others safely home. The study examined the behaviors of 165 designated drivers during a three-month period of time.

The researchers found that approximately 40 percent of the designated drivers consumed alcohol during the evening. In addition, approximately 18 percent of the designated drivers drank a significant amount of alcohol, resulting in them being considered impaired when behind the wheel.

By documenting the participants' blood alcohol concentration and performing the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, the researchers were able to determine that the participants with a BAC at or above 0.05 percent were impaired. In other words, at or above that BAC, the motorists' abilities were diminished and their psychomotor functions were affected.

Avoid a serious drunk driving accident in Colorado

In Colorado and across the country, drunk driving collisions lead to a significant number of fatalities and severe personal injuries every year.

In 2008, 40 percent of all drunk driving accidents in Colorado led to either a fatality or personal injury, according to the Colorado State Patrol. Drunk driving leads to a markedly higher number of fatalities and injuries than occur as a result of other traffic accidents. The Colorado State Patrol reported that only slightly over 15 percent of non-drunk driving accidents led to fatalities or injuries in 2008.

The severity of such collisions can also be seen when considering national statistics. Across the country, drunk drivers caused over 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2010 - a total of over 10,225 people died in such collisions that year.

When someone sustains injuries in a collision caused by an individual who was under the influence of alcohol, he or she should be aware of the options to recover for the harm caused in the crash. In such cases, the injured party should seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure his or her rights are protected.

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