The law does not condone reckless driving or driving under the influence (DUI) and if you are a repeat offender, you will wind up being required to carry SR22 insurance. Before heading out on the town, if you know there will be drinking involved, designate an individual who is in charge of staying sober and driving everyone home. Alternating this role will keep things fair – and safe.
According to the NHTSA, 32 people die in the United States every day in a drunk-driving crash. That is equivalent to one person every 45 minutes. In 2020, when many people were staying home due to the pandemic, 11,654 people died in an alcohol-related crash. For those who are charged with DUI or DWI, fines can be steep and if there is bodily injury or property damage –the likelihood of jail or prison time escalates.
Why Even a Small Amount Counts
- At .02 BAC the effects of alcohol on an individual include relaxation, altered mood, and some loss of judgment. Effects on driving at this time include a decline in visual functions (not being able to track a moving target, like another car) and impaired ability to perform two tasks at the same time.
- At .05 BAC the effects include loss of small muscle control and exaggerated behavior, release of inhibition and impaired judgment. Effects on driving include difficulty steering, reduced coordination and even greater reduction in the ability to track moving objects.
- At .08 BAC the individual’s muscle coordination becomes poor (they have difficulty speaking, balancing, and hearing), they lose some self-control, have an inability to reason and their memory is impaired. The effects alcohol has on driving at this level of intoxication include short-term memory loss, a reduction in information processing capabilities, impaired perception, and inability to control the vehicle’s speed.
In the United States, the legal BAC is .08 for individuals 21 and over. But, as you can see, even a small amount of alcohol in the system can impair a person’s judgment and their ability to successfully drive their vehicle.
Why Being the DD Can be Awesome
While you’re bound to feel a little left out of the party, there are some pretty great things that go along with being your friends’ designated driver for the evening.
- You’ll save tons of money. When it’s time to go to the bar, the pub or the club, drinking doesn’t come cheap. If you’re the designated driver, chances are good you can score free sodas from the bar all night long.
- You won’t wake up hung over. Yes, your friends are partying now and having fun, but give them a few hours and ask them if they want to join you on your morning run (they won’t). While they are moaning the day away on the sofa telling their roommates to be quiet, you’ll be able to carry on your day as usual, with no regrets.
- Your friends will owe you. Not only will your friends be indebted and appreciative of your role as DD, they’ll know afterwards that they will owe you big time. Maybe it will be tickets to your favorite concert or just that you get to party the next time all of you go out and one of them will be DD, either way, it’s like money in the bank.
- You get to end the night when you want to. Since you’re the one who is driving all of them home, you’re the one that gets to say when time is up. Of course, 9 p.m. wouldn’t exactly be fair, but you will have the power to call it a night on your own terms.
Alternatives to a Designated Driver
Sometimes, nobody wants to step up to the plate and be the DD, because everyone is in the mood to party and have fun together. The good news is, there are alternatives to consider including:
- Install a Rideshare app on your phone so you can be prepared at a moment’s notice to use Lyft, Uber, etc., to get you and your friends home safely.
- Plan the party at someone’s house with the idea that everyone will stay the night.
- Rent a cabin and plan a fun vacation getaway with your friends for the weekend.
- Call a taxi or a sober friend.
Practice Responsible Behavior
- If you are drinking – never drive.
- Get a safe ride home for someone if they have been drinking.
- When hosting a party, be sure everyone gets home safely with a sober driver.
- Always wear your seatbelt, and make sure others are, as well.
- Take the keys from someone if they try to drive and you know they’ve been drinking.
When you take active steps to be responsible, you’re not only averting potential crashes, you’re also eliminating the possibility of fines, jail time and points on your license, all of which you will carry with you far into the future.