Woodland, TX- When people go out to a bar or club to drink, if they’re smart, they ask one of their friends to be the designated driver; that one person who promises to abstain from alcohol while everyone else drinks it up. But a new study reveals that close to half of all designated drivers drink before they get behind the wheel.

In the new study, researchers at the University of Gainesville in Florida questioned 1,071 bar goers over a three-month period. Of the all-male participants, 165 were designated drivers, 40 percent of who admitted to having one or more drinks even though they were supposed to remain sober, CBS reported.

The researchers gave blood alcohol tests to the designated drivers at different bars in the area. Sixty-five percent of those tested were responsible and had zero alcohol in their blood. An additional 28 percent had a blood alcohol content was between .02 and .49—the legal limit in the majority of states is .08, though the NTSB would like that to change to .05. The rest, 18 percent had a blood alcohol level of .05 or more.

The average male weighing 150 lbs. can have a BAC of .029 just after one beer, a second drink will put their BAC up to .58, CBS reported.

The author of the study, Adam Barry, explained in a press release that many of the designated drivers may think it is okay to drink because they are getting a buzz, that their driving won’t be affected because they don’t feel the effects of the alcohol. “People do try to use that as a measuring stick,” he says. “But alcohol is insidious.”

Even though people may not be feeling the effects of alcohol, their driving abilities become impaired at a mere .02 BAC.

“While more of the designated drivers didn’t drink than did drink, which is a good thing, you have people being selected because they’re the least drunk, or the least intoxicated or they’ve driven drunk before,” Barry said. “The only real safe option is to completely abstain.”

Barry suggested that designated drivers refrain from drinking at all since having drunken people in vehicle can present become a distraction. “You’ve got roughhousing, unruly passengers, music — so many competing factors on top of your ability to process information and brake and steer effectively,” Barry said.

DUIs in Texas or another state, can be complex and have strict penalties, often calling for a jail time, loss of a driver’s license and costing the offender thousands of dollars, and they could get even tougher. Not only does a DUI cost you money and your freedoms, it stays on your record for the life in Texas.

Ask anyone who has had a DUI, even if you manage to avoid jail, you will have numerous other issues to deal with. After being charged, it’s critical to hire a Woodland DUI attorney to start working on your case immediately. Since DUI attorneys have the experience necessary to build a strong defense they can help you avoid conviction– the only way to keep your record clear.