Colorado Drunk Driving Prank Reveals Shocking Truth

Your Hump-Day Recess: 2 Beers or Not 2 Beers

The best way to study behavior is to have the subjects unaware that they’re being studied. Using that sneaky method, the Colorado Department of Transportation recently did a killer study to find out if people really knew their own safe blood alcohol limit for driving. CDOT learned the answer, and more.

The setup: a bus took a group of young people on a brewery tour, and participants watched the driver match the participants beer for beer. What they didn’t know was that the driver was drinking non-alcoholic beer.

Denver Brewery Tour

Turns out our brewery tour wasn't what people signed up for…

Posted by A Few Brews on Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The upshot might or might not shock you, depending on how much you’ve been briefed on the problem. The study revealed:

  • People think they’re okay to drive after a couple of beers (they’re not).
  • Two 16-ounce craft beers will put you past the legal .08 BAC limit.
  • People tend to allow someone else to drink and drive, and even willingly ride with that person.

What we really learned is that people are operating under a pretty astonishing amount of misinformation. Part of this is tradition: being able to drive “after a couple of beers” comes from the days when two beers meant two 12-ounce cans of Budweiser, which has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of about 5 percent. Many craft beers are much higher, and often they are served by the pint. 32 ounces of a 9 percent craft beer impairs you a lot more than 24 ounces of a 5 percent beer.

But what about letting others drink and drive, and even riding with a driver who’s been drinking? This is not a new revelation, and it’s still a downright scary one.

Among the reasons people ride with drunk drivers:

  • They’ve been drinking themselves and have diminished judgment (which might have been the case here)
  • Social pressure inhibits some people, particularly teens, from calling out a drunk driver (fear of being Debbie Downer).

If you think these are lousy reasons to ride with a drunk driver, you’re right. There aren’t any good reasons to do so, or to drink and drive, for that matter.

The good news is that the few people who experienced this fake brewery tour seem to have undergone a revelation. Maybe the CDOT could take the act on the road to educate more people that they are drunker, and more reckless, than they think they are.

Your Hump Day Recess: Every Wednesday LifeSafer brings you something a little different, related to the worlds of road safety, to ease your progress over Hump Day and through the week.
Previous Hump Days: a German Ignition Interlock spoof from 1960, our Top 10 Worst Crash Tests, a different kind of Anti-DUI message, Budweiser’s dogged anti-DUI campaign, How Not to Dodge a Parking Ticket, the world’s worst traffic jams, a dramatic buzzed driving PSA , an offbeat ad from New ZealandVince and Larry, our favorite crash test dummies, some excellent Soviet anti-drunk-driving posters, a lesson on how buzzed driving can ruin your love life, South Australia to Drunk Drivers: Grow Up!, a woman calls 911 to report herself for DUI, Felix the Cat and Drunk Driving,  DUIs who crash vintage cars – (ouch!), Woman Unwittingly Creates Self-Driving Car, A Brilliant PSA from Australia, a Road Safety Message in a Vodka Bottle, a PSA about binge drinking that is decidedly “meh,” Drunk Driver Crashes $4 Million Car, Drunk Driving in 1910, a Superb New Think! PSA from the UK,Drunk Driving in 1955: New Breath Test Technology Will Save the Day!, the Best Animated Gifs About Drunk Driving, Angle Parking: A Surreal DUI Stop Photo, a Hertz Advertisement that Could Have Used Another Set of Eyes, a Laugh Out Loud Anti-Drunk Driving Ad, How to Beat a Breathalyzer with Peanut Butter … Not! and Who Knew? GM Invented the DUI Ignition Interlock in 1970.