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How to be a good designated driver

If you plan to go out and watch the game at a bar, hit a club with your friends or attend a party on campus, it is always a good idea to think ahead and determine how you will get home. Once you are drinking, your decision-making skills decrease and you may make the wrong decision to get behind the wheel of a car. Not only can this lead to terrible accidents, but also to fines, license suspension and jail time for you.

People avoid drunk driving charges by choosing a designated driver, someone that stays sober and provides rides home for a pre-arranged group. Estimates suggest that since the late 80s, designated drivers have saved more than 50,000 lives, and in doing so, kept friends out of jail for DUI. If you are chosen as the DD, here are a few ways you can do it right.

Get the keys

You cannot always trust your friends once they start drinking, and your job is to make sure they get home safely without injuring anyone else. One way to prevent them from driving is to take the keys from them before they start drinking. At this point, they are still rational enough to make a smart decision.

You are not the 'least drunk'

The designated driver should refrain from drinking any alcohol, not be chosen as the least drunk person among you. If your entire group has been drinking before you choose a DD, call a cab or another ride. If you are the designated driver and you decide to drink, relinquish your duties immediately.

Create some ground rules

Remember, your car, your rules. Always require passengers to wear seat belts and limit distractions in the vehicle. If you are asking for payment, it is best to get it up front before you start your journey.

If you find yourself without a DD, decide to drive and get pulled over, you may have a mark on your criminal record with just one mistake. To keep your record clear, consult an attorney immediately if you have been arrested for drunk driving.

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Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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