The Designated Driver Program became a formal and promoted idea in the 1980’s. It became another tool of an arsenal to prevent drunk driving with the ultimate goal of reducing drunk driving fatalities. However, over the years the designated driver ideal became warped. It became the punchline to jokes and it is my opinion that many feel the designated driver is irrelevant.
For example, how often have you heard these responses when someone asks who is the designated driver?
“I am the designated driver because I am the least drunk.”
“I am the designated driver because I did not drink as much as everyone else.”
During my college years I heard those phrases often, but fortunately everyone walked to parties or the bars. Well at least the people I partied with walked. However, that mentality became more prevalent and accepted. As I moved onto to law school and into my career I continued to hear those phrases. Even today out for dinner I will hear someone say this at the restaurant bar.
The designated driver is the individual that is supposed to remain sober. In all the instances where I have heard someone rattle off one of the phrases above that same person was holding a drink in their hand. As soon as you consume an alcoholic beverage you are moving away from a sober state. To remain absolutely sober you must not consume a drop of alcohol.
When I am the designated driver it is Sprite for me for the night. I do not tempt fate with drinking “just beer” or having “just one” martini. By the way did you know “just one” martini usually is the equivalent of four to five drinks? Just like the designated driver ideal, the just one drink rule has been corrupted over the years.
The next time you are out with friends and have honorably volunteered to be the DD refrain from drinking any alcoholic beverage. That is the only true way to avoid a DUI.