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A designated driver agrees not to drink alcohol so they can safely drive their friends, family, and colleagues home after an event with alcohol consumption.
In 1988, Harvard’s School of Public Health introduced the Harvard Alcohol Project to reduce drunk driving fatalities.7 The project introduced the Scandinavian designated driver concept to the United States.
Instead of being an anti-alcohol project, the designated driver concept asked people to plan and be responsible when drinking alcohol. This perspective helped shift how the public viewed alcohol consumption outside the home.
People assign designated drivers at social events that involve drinking alcohol. Whoever is chosen must remain sober throughout the event to ensure their friends or family get home safely once the effects of alcohol set in.
Some people who do not drink alcohol but enjoy attending social events prefer being the designated driver. Nobody will poke fun at them or pressure them for not drinking because people acknowledge the responsibility of the task.
Some establishments and companies run a designated driver campaign. They offer complimentary, non-alcoholic drinks to sober drivers to make the role more enjoyable.
Here are some tips on how to choose designated drivers wisely:
You may also use professional car services like Uber or Lyft, allowing people to request a ride to and from locations. Around big holidays, many taxis or local ride services provide free trips to ensure people get home safely without drunk driving.
If you have brought your car to an event, leave it where it is if you have started drinking. Come back for it when you have sobered up. Bars will often have resources to help you get home safely.
Whether you are always the designated driver among loved ones or you switch turns, here are some tips to achieve a successful designated driver plan:
Being a designated driver is a huge responsibility that can save lives. You must remain sober all night.
No amount of alcohol is worth going back on your word. Once everyone starts drinking, making healthy, rational decisions is more challenging.
Having a drink or two is unsafe because it will affect your judgment and driving ability. It is best not to drink to keep your loved ones safe.
It takes approximately three hours to eliminate two alcoholic beverages, depending on your weight. Nothing can quicken this process, like drinking coffee or having a cold shower.
Here are some statistics about drunk driving:1,6
Many people still drive while intoxicated despite all the warnings. Drunk driving numbers for high schoolers reduced by half between 1991 and 2012, but teenagers are still at risk whether they are driving or not.4
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A designated driver is essential for everyone to get home safely. They are an integral part of keeping roads safe.
Educating friends and family about the designated driver concept can help reduce the number of vehicle accidents and deaths. Whether volunteers or paid, the designated driver of any group has a big responsibility.
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