Approx. twenty percent of designated drivers are impaired, too

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. —  A study to be released in the July issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs tested the blood alcohol levels of designated drivers and found they were often impaired, too.

The study found that out of more than 1,000 bar patrons 40 percent of designated drivers had drank and that most of those drinkers had blood alcohol levels that could impair their driving.

The lead researcher in this study says it’s unclear why the designated drivers drank despite their role, but said some might believe that as long as they don’t feel drunk that they’re all right to drive.

“People do try to use that as a measuring stick,” said lead researcher Adam Barry, Ph.D., an assistant professor of health education and behavior at the University of Florida in Gainesville. “But alcohol is insidious,” said Barry.

He said if you’re going to be a designated driver, you should abstain from alcohol use completely.

For the study, Barry’s team went out into a college bar district six distinct nights (10:00 p.m.-2:30 a.m.) over three months, recruiting bar patrons as they exited drinking establishments. Ultimately, 1,071 people agreed to be interviewed and take alcohol breath tests-including 165 who said they were the designated driver.

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