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The Definition of a Designated Driver

Learn about the legal implications and responsibilities of designated drivers with Scrofano Law PC. Call us for more information.

Designated Driving and Staying Safe After Drinking

Getting behind the wheel after consuming high amounts of alcohol is a bad idea. If a police officer suspects you of impaired or intoxicated driving they can pull you over. and may arrest you for driving under the influence (DUI). A drunk driving conviction can result in severe consequences and possible jail time.

If you plan to drink alcohol at a friend’s party or while going out of town, it is essential to find a designated driver prior to the event rather than choosing the most sober among your friends. Designated drivers can help protect you from the various consequences of drunk driving. By handing your car keys to a designated driver, you can enjoy your night and avoid putting yourself and other road users at risk.

Scrofano Law, PC has extensive experience handling DUI cases. Our lawyers can assist you with your DUI case and help you avoid a DUI conviction.

The Definition of a Designated Driver

Understanding the Role

A designated driver (DD) is someone who remains sober while others are drinking so that they can drive them home safely. They must exercise reasonable care in driving the vehicle and remaining sober while performing their service. However, their role is not simply to remain sober.

Having one free drink at the bar can result in them failing a breathalyzer or blood test when pulled over. Additionally, a DUI arrest for driving impaired may still occur even if their blood alcohol level is below the 0.08 percent legal limit. Therefore, a designated driver is making a promise to abstain from drinking on the day they are required to drive you home.

Responsibilities and Expectations

A DC designated driver should meet the following criteria to adequately perform their duties, including:

  • Abstain from drinking alcohol
  • Be at least twenty-one years old
  • Drive with adequate insurance
  • Drive with a valid driver’s license
  • Drive without the influence of drugs or medication that may impact their driving

Designated drivers should ensure that they and their passengers in the car abide by applicable DC traffic and seatbelt laws. They can also ensure that you are not consuming alcoholic beverages while they are driving. While acting as a designated driver is voluntary, it is also a huge responsibility.

The Legal Perspective on Designated Drivers

DUI Laws and Designated Drivers

Under DC laws, a person can be arrested for DUI if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .07 percent or lower. The officer may take a BAC reading, administer Structured Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs), and observe the driver’s behavior. Designated drivers consume no alcohol, so there is no risk of driving impaired and getting arrested for a DUI.

The Impact of Designated Drivers on Road Safety

Statistical Evidence

The concept of designated drivers has been questioned because:

  • Designated drivers may still drink, although it may be less than other passengers.

  • Having a designated driver may encourage passengers to indulge in excessive drinking.

According to a national roadside survey conducted in the US, eighty-four percent of nighttime drivers who were designated drivers had a BAC of zero. Self-identified DDs were more likely to have a positive BAC compared to other drivers on the road. However, the study found that designated driving may encourage passengers to binge drink because of the feeling of little or no responsibility over the wheel.

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) found that nearly all American drivers agree on the importance of designated drivers. Every three of four respondents (79.8%) had either used designated driver services or served as one.

Real-Life Implications

The National Highway Traffic Safety Admission (NHTSA) reports that about thirty-seven people in the US die from drunk driving crashes every day – one person in every thirty-nine minutes. About 13,384 people died as a result of alcohol-impaired driving. The goal of a designated driver is to prevent impaired driving by staying sober, so they ensure the safety of the group and prevent traffic fatalities.

Choosing a Reliable Designated Driver

Criteria for Selecting a Designated Driver

Choosing the right designated driver should be taken seriously if you plan on getting tipsy on your night out. Whoever you pick will be responsible for your safety and anyone accompanying you. Managing a group of intoxicated people can take a lot of work, and choosing the right DD is critical.

Here are some tips you should consider when making a selection:

  • Choose a responsible driver who can resist the temptation of drinking even when offered free alcohol.

  • Choose a driver who is readily available to drive you home safely.

  • Choose a driver who practices safe driving and obeys traffic regulations.

  • Choose someone with an up to date insurance.

  • Choose a driver with a valid driver’s license.

Consequences of an Unreliable Designated Driver

Choosing the wrong DD could put your life in danger. They could leave you stranded by deciding not to show up or they could choose to drink putting your safety at risk.

Driving yourself home when drunk may result in a serious car accident or a drunk driving arrest. If you get convicted of DUI, you stand the risk of losing your driving privileges or job if it requires a driver’s license. Further, you may be required to pay huge fines and impound fees.

In Need of Professional Legal Counsel? Contact Us Today

DDs are essential to keeping DC roads safe. By understanding the role and responsibilities of a DD, you can avoid a DUI charge.

If you are facing charges for DUI or other traffic violations, it is crucial to secure legal representation from a DUI attorney immediately. DUI attorneys are familiar with DUI laws and can advise you on how to beat your DUI charges.

Our experienced DUI lawyers at Scrofano Law, PC have experience handling DUI-related cases. We can analyze your DUI case and craft a strong defense strategy to effectively represent you in court.

For legal assistance and advice, contact us today.


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