GAINESVILLE, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – A recent study reveals that as many as 40 percent of all designated drivers imbibe alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a car.

Many of those drivers drink to the point of inebriation, the study additionally indicated according to LiveScience.

Researchers at the University of Florida in Gainesville observed designated drivers while out and about, venturing to an unnamed college town in the Southeast to gather information.

In all, a reported 1,071 people participated in interviews and breathalyzer tests offered by researchers over the course of six days while leaving bars between 10 p.m. and 2:30 a.m., including 165 persons who said they were designated drivers.

Of those who said they were responsible for getting friends home safely, an estimated 40 percent admitted to drinking while at the bar. Additionally, 18 percent of those people registered blood alcohol levels of .05 percent or more when breathalyzer tests were performed, LiveScience found.

“If you’re going to be a designated driver, you should abstain from alcohol use completely,” researcher Adam Barry, a University of Florida assistant professor of health education, was quoted as saying.

Barry noted that many claimed to feel fine to drive, which he said can be problematic due to the unreliable nature of self-assessments of sobriety. Researchers also observed that designated drivers usually have to navigate dark roads, and are often distracted by the boisterous nature of drunken passengers.

The science reporting website learned that the study will appear in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs this July.

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