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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Designated Driver Equals Person Most Sober

The definition of a “designated driver” is often the person who is the most sober, as far as teens are concerned, a new survey has found. One would like to think that a “designated driver” has been chosen because they have abstained from consuming any mind altering substance. Sadly, about one in five teenagers surveyed said that the person designated to drive can have some alcohol or other drugs, provided they can still handle the task of driving.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) report on fatal crashes involving drivers ages 16 to 20, showed that about 18 percent of the drivers were under the influence in 2011. 

The Liberty Mutual and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) conducted the survey, which included 2,537 students in 11th and 12th grades, according to Bloomberg News. David Melton, Managing Director for Global Safety at Liberty Mutual, said that teens “seem to think that unless they’re really falling-down drunk, that it’s OK for them to drive”.

“Long before you’re at .08, you’re definitely impaired in terms of your judgment,” Melton said. “You may not be over the legal limit, but you are driving with a buzz on and that’s not a good thing.” 

The survey’s disturbing results showed that 4 percent of teens viewed their designated driver as the one who was most sober when it came time to drive. What’s more, one in 10 teens who had claimed to have never driven drunk, admitted that they had in fact driven under the influence.

Stephen Gray Wallace, Senior Advisor for Policy, Research and Education at SADD, said in a statement, “With teens reporting these lax definitions of what it means to be ‘under the influence',  a zero tolerance approach is the only answer to prevent potential tragedy. The parents and community have a responsibility to initiate and maintain an open dialogue with teens about exactly what driving under the influence means.”
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