We can’t praise our designated drivers enough. They allow friends to relax, drink, and have a good time, knowing that they’ll get home safely and within the law. Perhaps they sacrifice a bit of their own enjoyment in order to allow a group of friends to live another day safe, unharmed and out of jail.

Being a designated driver is not the hardest job out there. In fact, the qualifying test has only two questions:

  1. Can you drive?
  2. Are you sober?

As easy as this sounds, a startling number of designated drivers blow the second one. True, they are drinking less than their hammered counterparts, but they are drinking nonetheless. In 2013 the University of Florida study found that 35 percent of designated drivers drink alcohol, and most of them drink enough to affect their driving.

Why do they do it? The study didn’t go into that, but it’s possible that they presume that they are the lesser of two evils: a mildly impaired driver versus the friends who are busy chugging down beer after beer. Peer pressure could be another factor: the title of designated driver might not be as rewarding as the camaraderie of brothers and sisters clicking glasses at the bar.

But if you’re a designated driver, you need to be a sober driver. Your friends are putting their lives in your hands. No amount of fist bumps or pats on the back can compensate for the risks that impaired driving exposes your friends to at the end of the night.

If you’re the DD, see the job through. It’ll be someone else’s turn next time.

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