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The weekend is almost here, which means it’s nearly time to say adios to work and go out and grab a few drinks with friends. Now that you’ve figured out when and where you’re going, the next question is, “How are we getting there?” Cabs can be pricy and the bus is a hassle. Nobody wants to man up and be the designated driver, but after a twenty-minute discussion, someone gets tired of it and unwillingly takes on the responsibility. Next thing you know, you’re at the bar and that designated driver is having a drink. And then another. But they insist they’re still okay to drive, and they’re not alone.

According to a recent study by the University of Florida, 40% of designated drivers drink when they are supposed to be on driving duty. Even worse, nearly 20% of all designated drivers consume enough alcohol to greatly impair their driving abilities. Adam Barry, who is the lead author of the study, said, “There’s evidence that says designated drivers often times are chosen because they’re least intoxicated – or they’re chosen because they’ve successfully driven a car intoxicated previously.” Scary. The least intoxicated? That could still mean they’re close to, at or even above the legal limit.

Most literature has concluded that at a blood alcohol content level of .05, you are significantly impaired and not fit to drive, even though the legal limit is .08. Which means there are a lot more drunk drivers out there than we think, even including some drunk designated drivers. It’s important that your elected drunk driver sticks to staying sober. If they can’t, leave the car and call a cab or a friend who hasn’t drank to pick you up. You may owe them a beer or two later on, but that’s a small price to pay for your safety.

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