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What Are the Duties of a Designated Driver?

California’s Designated Driver Program is an official effort of the California state DMV to combat drunk driving. The general principle behind the program is abstention from alcoholic beverages for the purpose of responsibly transporting others who have been drinking.

Designated drivers must:

  1. Be at least 21 years old
  2. Possess a valid driver’s license
  3. Be part of a group of 2 or more people
  4. Verbally identify themselves as the designated driver
  5. Abstain from any alcohol consumption for the entirety of the outing

Designated drivers must also commit to refraining from other methods of impairment, i.e. drugs. Additionally, they must operate with the knowledge that management can rightfully refuse service to anyone in their party at any time.

Why Do It?

Volunteering to be the designated driver for a night is rarely a sought-after position. However, it’s a necessary one. It’s been estimated that designated drivers have saved upwards of 50,000 lives since the idea was popularized in 1980s. In fact, the designated driving program is so effective that only 6 years after the initial campaign kickoff, the number of drunk driving-related fatalities was at an all-time low, with an overall decrease of 30%.

A Brief History of Designated Driving

In the 1980s, Harvard University’s School of Public Health set out to do something about the growing problem of alcohol-related deaths in young adults ages 15 to 24. The solution: A variation of the Scandinavian designated driver concept that originated the 1920s. The groundwork had already been laid, and with the efforts made by Harvard’s School of Public Health, the program came to fruition in 1988 when the university’s Alcohol Project was launched.

Offering a solution to the nation’s growing drunk driving problem, the Alcohol Project quickly gained notoriety throughout the nation. It even partnered with some of Hollywood’s most notable studios – including ABC, NBC, and CBS – to release a series of drunk driving prevention public service announcements. The idea was such a hit, in fact, that major television programs like “The Cosby Show” and “Cheers” even began incorporating messaging about drunk driving prevention into their shows.

By the early 90s, the term “designated driver” could be found in the dictionary and government leaders like Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton were backing the campaign as well. The message was loud and the delivery was strong. Across the nation, notable sports figures and famous entertainers alike were promoting the designated driver program as a solution for drunk driving-related deaths and injuries.

Legal Help for DUIs in Fresno and Central Valley

While the designated driver program offers a safe alternative to drinking and driving, we realize that mistakes can still happen. If you were recently pulled over and arrested for DUI in Fresno or Central Valley, our attorneys can help.

Wapner Jones, PC. is a respected DUI defense law firm located in Fresno. Both of our lawyers are founding members of the National DUI Defense Lawyers Association, and together we have over 55 years of professional experience working in the field.

Your first consultation with a Fresno DUI attorney at our office is completely free of charge. Contact us today at (559) 257-4707 to get started.