The good news is that alcohol impaired driving fatalities declined by 7.4% in 2009. The bad news is that there were still an astounding number of alcohol impaired driving fatalities, with 10,839 deaths, accounting for nearly a third of all traffic fatalities. In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the legal limit for drunk driving is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08. To put that number in context, a 120-pound woman can reach a .08 BAC level after only two drinks and a 180-pound man can be at .08 after only four drinks. But research shows that impairment begins long before a person reaches the blood alcohol concentration level necessary to be guilty of drunken driving. The above data demonstrates just how dangerous drinking and driving can be. With that said, you might be wondering, what is the solution? Designated drivers are a crucial component in the battle to combat drunk driving and save lives.
Who Should Be The Designated Driver?
In many cities across the United States there are designated driver services available. These services generally work in one of two ways. One method is the “Team Lift” approach, where two people come to your location in their vehicle. One then drives you home in your car while the other follows in their car. Both then ride off together in their car. The other method is the “Scooter” approach. Under that approach a person will arrive on a special scooter that folds up and fits into a compact carrying bag. That person then puts the scooter in your trunk and drives you home in your car. Once the ride is complete the person will unpack the scooter and ride off to the next person in need of assistance. These services are typically offered either by non-profit groups at a low price or even for free. The services can also be offered through paid membership.
Of course, designated driver services are not the only way that you can secure a designated driver. Another approach, which has long been used, is to find a trusted friend who promises to be the designated driver for the night and not to consume any alcohol. It is imperative that you find a person you can trust not to drink that night and make sure you get home safely. You should not decide during the course of the night who will be the designated driver for that given night. The arrangements for the designated driver should be made well in advance and set in stone.
There are no shortage of options when it comes to arranging for a designated driver. Taking the time to make the necessary arrangements is simple and eliminates the need for anyone to drive drunk. However, in order for the use of designated drivers to be truly effective, all drivers need to be on board. It only takes one irresponsible driver to endanger the lives of countless others on the road. With a concerted effort by all drivers to utilize the resources available, the roads will be significantly safer and alcohol impaired driving fatalities will decrease dramatically.