Ideally, a designated driver is the sober friend at a Chicago social gathering who provides safe transportation for individuals or groups too drunk to drive. Some designated drivers imbibe, but promise to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. Abstinence is not the same as being the least intoxicated person at a party.
Alcohol's effects vary from one person to the next and even within the same individual on different occasions. A person who has a few drinks with dinner may have a legally acceptable blood alcohol level. The same scenario minus a meal could yield other results.
How do people determine whether they can drive after drinking alcohol since self-assessment, while under the influence of a drug, can blur judgment?
A DuPage County man is behind bars, charged with causing a late night fatal car accident. The 49-year-old man was driving the victim's car when he veered off an Oak Brook road. The passenger, a 48-year-old Hinsdale attorney, was dead when police found the wrecked vehicle in a wooded area.
The driver was hospitalized, treated and released into police custody the day after the fatal accident. The Downers Grove man was jailed on $750,000 bond, after being charged with aggravated drunk driving. The felony carries a maximum 14-year prison term.
Reports did not indicate why the passenger opted not to drive.
Some bars provide Breathalyzer tests on-site so patrons don't have to guess whether they're fit to drive. The user has to heed the results when the blood alcohol level rises above the state limit of 0.08 for the DUI test to be effective.
Drunk driving is negligence to juries who hear accident liability lawsuits. It doesn't matter whether the driver felt capable of driving after drinking alcohol. Damages are awarded when a civil court decides a defendant's disregard for others' safety was responsible for a serious injury or loss of life.
hinsdale.patch.com, "UPDATE: Driver In Weekend Crash That Killed Hinsdale Man Charged" Karen Chadra and Joe O'Donnell, Sep. 24, 2013