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Are drunk designated drivers a problem in Pennsylvania?

When groups of people go to sporting events in Philadelphia, whether it is to see the Phillies, Eagles, or Flyers, chances are that a person is selected to be the designated driver. In essence, the driver is going to remain sober and be responsible for getting his drunk friends home. 

The designated driver, by many accounts, is supposed to abstain from alcohol in order to be alert and cognizant enough to drive. However, a growing sentiment suggests that more designated drivers are actually drinking when they are supposed to preparing for the drive home. In fact, a recent study suggests that a third of designated drivers are not fit to drive.

According to an LA Times.com report, researchers from the University of Florida found that 35 percent of designated drivers admitted to drinking even though they were supposed to be the sober ride home. The report sparked another chapter in the discussion behind responsible drinking and the role of the designated driver. 

Basically, as long as the driver's blood alcohol level is below the legal limit of .08, he or she is welcome to enjoy an alocholic beverage. However, some researchers believe that this practice is fraught with problems, especially since most people feel the effects of alcohol (and start having a good time) only after they are intoxicated.

The study did not indicate (or suggest) that designated drivers in Pennsylvania are a problem. However, it suggests that even designated drivers can be arrested for DUI, espcially if they don't feel like they are impaired.

Source: LA Times.com, Is your designated driver drunk?, June 11, 2013

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Gregory R. Gifford
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