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The Dangers of Drinking and Driving: CDOT Conducts Social Experiment

by  on  Accident Attorney

Most people who drive are well aware of the dangers associated with drinking and operating a motor vehicle. Many of those who drink claim to “know their limits” when it comes to how many drinks it takes to get them “drunk.” It is important to keep in mind, however, that although an individual may not “feel” drunk, his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) may still be over the legal limit (which is currently .08 percent).

In an effort to prove that point, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) conducted a social experiment, A Few Brews: A Craft Brewery Tour. As part of the experiment, participants were taken to three different breweries in Denver and actors (who were hired by CDOT) played the role of tour guides.

The Experiment

At each stop of the tour, the tour van driver took drinks himself (but no one knew that he was drinking non-alcoholic beer). Still, none of those on the tour seemed to mind that the driver was drinking and operating the van. The individual conducting the tour also drank while giving the tour — except he was drinking actual beer that contained alcohol. According to CDOT, the guide was approximately the same size as the van operator, so both of them would have likely been impaired at similar levels.

It was later revealed that the guide’s BAC was .05 (which, in Colorado, is considered driving while ability impaired) after having only one 16 oz. craft beer. After two beers, the guide’s BAC was at .08 (which would be driving under the influence) and after three beers, his BAC was at .10.

What’s the Takeaway From the Experiment?

Sam Cole, CDOT’s Communications Manager of Traffic Safety, stated that the experiment “confirmed for us that many adults underestimate the dangers associated with driving after having a few drinks. The participants never expressed concern that their driver was drinking and driving […] This false sense of security that you can have two or three drinks and be fine needs to be challenged.”

Cole further noted that individuals must realize that they are 400 percent more likely to be involved in a collision when impaired. In fact, CDOT conducted a survey in 2015 that revealed that 70 percent of males between the ages of 21 and 35 believed that they could operate a motor vehicle safely after having one or two alcoholic beverages.

Once the participants learned that they were actually involved in an experiment that was geared toward demonstrating the dangers of drinking and driving, most were shocked. One of the participants specifically stated, “I obviously should’ve said something […] like ‘why is our driver drinking?’”

CDOT notes that in Colorado, an average of 77 individuals are arrested for driving while impaired. If you or a loved one has been involved in a collision with a driver who may have been impaired at the time of the crash, the Denver auto accident attorneys at Levine Law are here to help. Contact us today to discuss your rights and options under the law.