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What is the role of a designated driver?

On the surface, the answer seems pretty simple: The designated driver is the person who remains sober so he or she can legally drive everyone else in the party around or home. If you've ever been a designated driver, though, you know there's a lot more to this story.

First, the designated driver's role isn't just to remain sober. You can have a drink or two, feel sober and still blow above the legal limit in a field test for blood alcohol level. If you're the designated driver, then your promising not to drink during the outing at all, which means you might have to order a virgin daiquiri or a diet cola when the rounds are bought. One good perk is that many places that cater to sporting events or nightlife offer free beverages to designated drivers.

Beyond avoiding alcohol while you're the driver, you might find yourself in a place of responsibility beyond good road safety. Friends who have been drinking might decide to find their own way home, or you might have arrived in separate cars with an original plan to leave together. After a few drinks or a night of partying, friends who are inebriated might decide that they'd rather just take their own car home.

As the designated driver, it's important to be firm but helpful in such situations. You want to do what you can to keep your friend from driving, but you also don't want to put yourself in danger. You can avoid this problem by making a plan early in the night on who will drive when and having the designated driver take everyone's keys.

Having a designated driver is a great way to keep yourself or your friends out of trouble or danger. If you find yourself without a designated driver, think you're sober enough to drive and get stopped by police, you might face DWI charges. If you find yourself being charged with drunk driving, reach out to a criminal defense lawyer quickly to boost the chance of a more positive outcome for your case.

Source: DrunkDrivingPrevention.Com, "What Is A Designated Driver?," accessed Feb. 17, 2017

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