Why using a designated driver is not a foolproof plan

Why using a designated driver is not a foolproof plan

Maybe you and a group of your friends tend to assign a designated driver every time you go out. While everyone else drinks alcohol, this person drinks water, soda, lemonade, you name it. The aim of this plan is to keep everyone safe, and the idea is noble.

However, using a designated driver or serving as one can backfire. In fact, a designated driver may be only slightly less drunk than everyone else in a group.

Underestimating the effects of alcohol

One reason drunkenness happens with designated drivers is that they may underestimate the effects of alcohol. Say that you are the designated driver for the night, and you expect the group to be out for about four hours. So, you have two drinks during hour one. They help pass the time in a way soda cannot, and you get mellow. Maybe in your relaxed state, you have a few more drinks. You stop drinking around the beginning of hour three, but depending on your weight, how much you had to drink and other factors, you may need more than a break of two more hours to get to a level where you can drive safely and legally.

In short, there are several ways to underestimate the effects of alcohol, such as:

  • Being unaware of the amount of alcohol it takes to impair judgment
  • Getting so mellow or relaxed that reaching for another drink and then another becomes easier
  • Becoming buzzed and somewhat losing track of time

In sum, if you are pulled over by a police officer who suspects you have been drinking, saying that you are the designated driver may not be enough to get you out of trouble. Many officers know that designated drivers are not always entirely sober. That said, they may mess up on administering field tests, or they might obtain evidence illegally. You may, in fact, be legally sober enough to drive.

Many designated drivers do act responsibly, and it can be frustrating when police officers seem to botch an arrest. No matter your case, you have the right to a defense. An attorney can help examine your situation.


The Johnson Law Firm, LLC, can answer your questions about what our legal practices. Contact us for a free consultation. We are located in St. Charles and serve the surrounding areas of Missouri.