Doctors for Designated Driving
by David J. Hanson, Ph.D.
The mission of Doctors for Designated Driving (DFDD) is to increase public safety through the promotion of designated driving. To achieve this goal, the non-profit organization works with all interested members of the hospitality industry to promote the use of designated drivers. It recognizes cooperating partners for their commitment to public safety through publicity, recognition awards, and events.
A designated driver is simply a person who agrees to abstain from alcohol and be responsible for driving others home. The others are free to drink or not as they choose. 1 Many establishments provide free non-alcoholic beverages to designated drivers and Doctors for Designated Driving works to increase that number.
Designated drivers have probably saved over 50,000 lives and spared hundreds of thousands of people from suffering injury from drunk driving. Over nine out of 10 Americans who attend social events where alcohol is served would like to see designated drivers used. And the proportion of people using or being a designated driver has increased dramatically over time. Each year over 73,000,000 Americans either serve as a designated driver or are driven home by one.
A designated driver helps friends and family to
- avoid embarrassment
- keep their drivers licenses
- avoid fines
- stay out of jail, and
- prevent senseless injury and death.
Advantages to the designated driver concept:
- The non-drinker has a legitimate and respected role at a social function where alcohol is served. There is no stigma to abstaining because the designated driver is considered an important member of the group. Being a designated driver can also help legitimize a personal choice not to drink.
- The designated driver approach prevents driving under any level of impairment because that person consumes no alcohol. It doesn't require a driver or passenger to determine if a person is too impaired to drive.
- The server or host can offer a positive alternative to drunk driving by encouraging a group to designate a driver.
- The designated driver concept is easy to understand, simple to implement, costs nothing, and is effective.
Doctors for Designated Driving is the voice of the medical community in support of this evidence-based public health measure. It asks all physicians and medical students to sign-on in support of its principles.
filed under: Drinking and Driving
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