Be a Designated Driver

Edited by Train Wreck, Eng, VisiHow

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Being a designated driver is a great way to prevent drunk driving or help friends avoid drinking and driving. However, there are designated driver requirements, laws, age limits, and a number of other facts to consider. Some of this has to do with why people drink and drive, but these regulations are in place for a good reason. They are there to help provide solutions for drinking and driving. Even if you don't elect to be a designated driver, you can still choose to use a designated driver service. Read on for our recommended tips to prevent drunk driving and be a designated driver.

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How can you be a designated driver?

In order to be a designated driver, you need to be a licensed driver and meet the minimum age requirements, which are from 16 years of age to 21 years of age. There is a little gray area though, which it's important to be aware of.

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    Most states have laws against minors transporting alcohol.
    This is known as a minor in possession (of alcohol), or MIP. In this case, if you're under the legal age of consumption of alcohol, which is 21 years old, and someone in your car has an alcoholic beverage, it can cause problems for you. Even if it's unopened.
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    Some states have curfews for drivers under the age of 18.
    In this case, as an example, a 16 year old driver might have a 10 PM curfew. That means they cannot legally drive after 10 PM. In other cases, a driver may only have a permit, which requires a responsible adult in the car with them. While there is very limited case law (legal precedent) involving cases where someone with a permit was driving an intoxicated person home, the fact is that a legally drunk adult is not considered responsible.
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  3. 3
    Your car or the car you are operating should be legally registered and properly licensed.
    It should also be insured. Most of the time this is not an issue if you're driving your own car, however, if you're driving someone else's car it's important to be prepared with documents in the event you are stopped by the police or have an accident.
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  4. 4
    Designated drivers have an easier time doing their job if they're able to come into a bar or other age restricted establishment to pick up their passengers.
    In most bars, if you're the designated driver, the staff will also offer you free non-alcoholic beverages as a thank you.
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  5. 5
    It's also important to know in advance where your passengers will want or need to go.
    In some cases a designated driver may drive people to several locations. This may include driving from one bar to another, and then taking them home, or just taking more than one person home. Most of the time there is no fixed timeline of events. People will often stay out much later, meaning that being a designated driver isn't always easy. Keep that in mind if you choose to be a designated driver, and be prepared for it.
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    Other times, the person or people you drive home may be belligerent or aggressive.
    This can make driving them home difficult, especially if they become violent, or insist on driving around the city instead of going home. Because of this it's important to set limits and make passengers aware of your role as the designated driver. Most of the time that means just taking them home, where they will be safe.
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Do you need to worry about the police if you're a designated driver?

In most cases, the police can and will be more understanding of the difficulties being a designated driver presents. However, it's best not to take chances. The police are there to serve and protect. If you are obeying the laws, and are stopped by the police, simply present them with your papers, and inform them that you're the designated driver. Most of the time they will just check to make sure your license and registration are valid, thank you for making the road a safer place by helping to prevent drunk driving, and wish you a good and safe night. Here are some tips you should observe if you are stopped by the police.

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  1. 1
    Pull your car off the road and come to a complete stop.
    This is to make sure you are off the road and not presenting a danger to other motorists. It's also a good idea to turn off your car and place the keys on your dashboard.
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  2. 2
    Turn on your hazard lights (flashing lights) and turn off your headlights.
    This lets other motorists see that you're stopped and that they should use caution. It also lets the officer know you're aware of road safety and are likely sober.
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  3. 3
    Turn on the interior lights.
    This is one of the most important things you can do. Turning on the lights lets the police officer see into your car. It's recommended by police, and in many cases, it will limit or reduce the unpleasantness of the police shining lights into people's faces.
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  4. 4
    Prepare your license and registration by placing them on the dashboard of your car.
    This step allows you to show the police that you're prepared to help them do their job. It also prevents you having to reach into the glove box or other area the police may not be able to clearly see. This is for everyone's safety, and is also an important step.
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  5. 5
    Place both hands on the wheel and have your passengers place their hands on the tops of the seats in front of them or on the dashboard.
    At a minimum, make sure everyone's hands are visible. This is just an added step to reassure the police officer that you're doing nothing wrong, and you're aware enough of law enforcement to respect their concerns for their own safety and yours.
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  6. 6
    Make sure to clearly answer any questions asked, and cooperate with the police officers.
    While there are many YouTube videos recommending that you comply with the minimum set of police requests, the fact is that in almost every case the police are only stopping you to make sure you aren't breaking the law. Detaining or obstructing a legally operating designated driver is the last thing any police officer wants to do. Help them do their job, and they will help you do yours.
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How can you make money as a designated driver?

It should come as no surprise that there are a number of ways to make money as a designated driver. Alternatively, you can save money as a designated driver. We'll explain below.

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    You can sign up with the designated driver service in your area, and they will pay you to drive clients home.
    One great service for this is Be My DD[1]. They let you choose the zip codes you're willing to service, and you can choose between providing an individual driving service, a group driving service, or an event service.
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  2. 2
    There is a popular application on the Google Play Store, iPhone App Store, and Windows Phone Store called Uber[2].
    Most people are familiar with Uber for the taxi service they provide, but the service also doubles as a designated driver service if you're in need of one. If you'd like to work with them as a driver, then you can earn money driving clients in your own car.
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  3. 3
    If you're in Europe, you can also earn money as a driver for the Taxify[3] service, which works just like Uber.
    Alternatively, you can simply use it for your designated driver if you or a friend has had too much to drink.
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Tips and Suggestions

  • Never drive when you've been drinking. Even if you only had one drink, it's too much. Make sure you wait a full hour before you leave to allow the alcohol to be processed by your system.
  • Always wear your seatbelt when working as a designated driver. It's also important to make sure your passengers have their seatbelts on as well. Not wearing your seatbelt can result in large fines, and worse, it's dangerous to you and your passengers to operate a motor vehicle without wearing a seatbelt.
  • Remember that it's always less expensive to hire a designated driver than it is to drive intoxicated. The one time cost of a designated driver might be $20, but even if it's $50, that's a lot less than what you'll spend if are stopped for drinking and driving. In fact, according to West Virginia University (WVU)[4], first time offender costs can be up to $5,000. Factor in additional hidden costs associated with losing your license and later paying more for car insurance, and the total lifetime costs can be upwards of $20,000. That's assuming you don't hurt yourself or someone else along the way. Don't drink and drive.
  • Don't forget to plan ahead, and be prepared. Make sure your car is fully gassed up before you go out. Know where you'll be going. Have your phone fully charged so you can make an emergency call if necessary. Keep some extra cash on hand so that you can take care of any problems that may arise along the way.

References on How to Be a Designated Driver

  1. Be My Designated Driver Service
  2. Uber Taxi Service America and Global
  3. Taxify Taxi Service Europe
  4. West Virginia University
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See more related tutorials: Treat Alcohol Poisoning, Drink on Antibiotics, Drink Alcohol and Exercise, Get Rid of Alcohol Breath, Sleep After Drinking, DUI Fines, Drink Responsibly, Determine If You Have Alcohol Poisoning, Drink Without Getting Drunk, Eat Before You Drink Alcohol, Get Help with a Drinking Problem, and Drink Alcohol.

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Recent edits by: Eng, Train Wreck

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