In Tennessee, designated drivers have long been perceived as people who do not drink and drive. However, recent research shows that many designated drivers are not always sober when they are behind the wheel. According to a study from NPR Science Desk, as long as their BAC was below the legal limit of 0.08 percent, many people who act as designated drivers think it is okay for them to consume a few alcoholic beverages. 20 percent of the 41 percent of designated drivers in this study drank to the point of impairment.

Many drivers are not aware that they are affected by alcohol until they feel slightly off or buzzed, states CBS News online. However, when buzzed designated drivers are in a car full of intoxicated people, they are more likely to become distracted from all of the loud talking, roughhousing and drunken behaviors that are going on. This increases the risk of accident and injury to everyone significantly.

The study involved 165 designated drivers and bar patrons. Changes in driving abilities and psychomotor functions were evident in designated drivers who consumed enough alcohol to score a 0.05 percent on the Breathalyzer test. Researchers also monitored changes in study particiapnts behavior with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test.

People who accept the responsibility of being designated drivers should avoid drinking alcohol until their duties are fulfilled. Even having as much as one drink can affect their senses and driving behaviors to the point that everyone who is in their vehicles is at risk for accidents.