Designated driver

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A designated driver on New Year's Eve 2011 WhovianVaCDesignatedDriver.JPG
A designated driver on New Year's Eve 2011

The terms "designated driver" and "designated driving" (commonly known as DD), refer to the selection of a person who remains sober as the responsible driver of a vehicle whilst others have been allowed to drink alcoholic beverages.

Sobriety continued abstinence from alcohol and other psychoactive substances

Sobriety is the condition of not having any measurable levels or effects from alcohol or drugs. Sobriety is also considered to be the natural state of a human being given at a birth. A person in a state of sobriety is considered sober. In a treatment setting, sobriety is the achieved goal of independence from consuming alcohol. As such, sustained abstinence is a prerequisite for sobriety. Early in abstinence, residual effects of alcohol consumption can preclude sobriety. These effects are labeled "PAWS," or "post acute withdrawal syndrome." Someone who abstains, but has a latent desire to resume use, is not considered truly sober. An abstainer may be subconsciously motivated to resume alcohol consumption, but for a variety of reasons, abstains. Sobriety has more specific meanings within specific contexts, such as the culture of many substance use recovery programs, law enforcement, and some schools of psychology. In some cases, sobriety implies achieving "life balance."


Thus as a practical and ethical matter a designated driver is a person who abstains from alcohol on a social occasion in order to drive his or her companions home safely as an alternative to driving under the influence. In order to encourage these arrangements, some bar, restaurant and nightclub proprietors will offer free or reduced-price soft drinks to designated drivers. [1]

Driving under the influence Driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of an impairing substance

Driving under the influence (DUI) is the crime or offense of driving or operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other drugs, to a level that renders the driver incapable of operating a motor vehicle safely.


The designated driver concept was developed in Scandinavia over several decades beginning in the 1920s, leading to a formalized designated driver program in the 1980s. [2] The program was introduced in Canada in 1986 by Hiram Walker and Sons as "The Canadian Club Designated Driver Program". The program was accepted readily and supported by the police, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the hospitality industry and the public. There were few if any detractors. The program was heavily promoted by Hiram Walker's President Doug Young and the company's PR agency Marshall Fenn Limited led by David Butler. The concept swept Canada, the United States and many other countries during 1986.

Scandinavia Region in Northern Europe

Scandinavia is a region in Northern Europe, with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties. The term Scandinavia in local usage covers the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The majority national languages of these three, belong to the Scandinavian dialect continuum, and are mutually intelligible North Germanic languages. In English usage, Scandinavia also sometimes refers to the Scandinavian Peninsula, or to the broader region including Finland and Iceland, which is always known locally as the Nordic countries.

Canada Country in North America

Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Its southern border with the United States, stretching some 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Canada's capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is a nonprofit organization in the United States and Canada that seeks to stop drunk driving, support those affected by drunk driving, prevent underage drinking, and strive for stricter impaired driving policy, whether that impairment is caused by alcohol or any other drug. The Irving, Texas–based organization was founded on September 5, 1980, in California by Candace Lightner after her 13-year-old daughter, Cari, was killed by a drunk driver. There is at least one MADD office in every state of the United States and at least one in each province of Canada. These offices offer victim services and many resources involving alcohol safety. MADD has claimed that drunk driving has been reduced by half since its founding.

The concept was imported to the United States on a large scale in 1988 through the Harvard Alcohol Project, [2] an initiative by the Harvard School of Public Health's Center for Health Communication, led by Jay Winsten. With heavy involvement by television networks and Hollywood studios, the campaign popularized the concept through public service announcements, as well as the encouragement of drunk driving prevention messages and designated driver references in popular television programs, [2] such as Cheers , L.A. Law , and The Cosby Show . The U.S. Department of Transportation used public affairs commercials with the phrase "friends don't let friends drive drunk". [2]

Jay Winsten founding director of the Center for Health Communication at Harvard University

Jay Winsten is an associate dean at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Director of the School's Frank Stanton Center for Health Communication. He is best known for his work in social marketing, spearheading high-profile national social campaigns on designated driving, youth violence, and youth mentoring. He also serves as Senior Communications Advisor to the United Nations Special Envoy for Malaria.

Hollywood District in Los Angeles, California, United States

Hollywood is a neighborhood in the central region of Los Angeles, California, notable as the home of the U.S. film industry, including several of its historic studios. Its name has come to be a shorthand reference for the industry and the people associated with it.

A public service announcement (PSA) is a message in the public interest disseminated without charge, with the objective of raising awareness of, and changing public attitudes and behavior towards, a social issue. In the UK, they are generally called 'public information films' (PIFs); in Hong Kong, they are known as 'announcements in the public interest' ('APIs').

President Bill Clinton participated in the designated driver campaign throughout his presidency, taping public service announcements each year at the request of the Harvard Alcohol Project. [3] [4] With the endorsement of a broad range of individuals and organizations, designated driving became a national movement, with "designated driver" becoming a common phrase. Based on several polls indicating an increase in designated driving practices since the start of the initiative, the campaign is credited as a contributing factor to the decline in alcohol-related traffic fatalities between 1988 and 1994. [5]

Bill Clinton 42nd president of the United States

William Jefferson Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd president of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Prior to the presidency, he was the governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981, and again from 1983 to 1992, and the attorney general of Arkansas from 1977 to 1979. A member of the Democratic Party, Clinton was ideologically a New Democrat, and many of his policies reflected a centrist "Third Way" political philosophy.

Since 2005, the spirits company Diageo has used a similar concept in Brazil to discourage drunk driving. Called Piloto da Vez, the campaign was born with the sponsorship of McLaren. Juan Pablo Montoya, Mika Häkkinen and Lewis Hamilton have participated in the campaign.

Diageo alcoholic beverages company

Diageo plc is a British multinational alcoholic beverages company, with its headquarters in London, England and offices on six continents. It was the world's largest distiller until being overtaken by China's Kweichow Moutai on 9 April 2017.

Brazil Federal republic in South America

Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, and its most populated city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, and the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world.

McLaren Racing Limited is a British motor racing team based at the McLaren Technology Centre, Woking, Surrey, England. McLaren is best known as a Formula One constructor but also competes in the Indianapolis 500 and has won the Canadian-American Challenge Cup (Can-Am). The team is the second oldest active Formula One team after Ferrari, where they compete as McLaren F1 Team. They are the second most successful team in Formula One history after Ferrari, having won 182 races, 12 Drivers' Championships and eight Constructors' Championships. The team is a wholly owned subsidiary of the McLaren Group.

In 2018 the concept of designated driver expanded to autonomous cars. A company,, offers to accept the legal risk of self-driving cars and to be the legal driver. [6]


Though designated drivers are popular, groups often fail to use them properly. [7] Often, there is a failure of those groups to designate the driver prior to making travel arrangements and arrive in separate vehicles. Even when a group does share a vehicle, it is not always the case that the designated driver remains sober. Failures to require driver abstinence or limitation of consumption is another problem. One study conducted at the Tijuana/San Diego border found that by asking groups intent on drinking to identify the designated driver prior to entering the bar district, the driver later returned with substantially lower BACs compared with the control groups. [8]

Advocacy groups

Various college and high school organizations, such as RamRide at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, CARPOOL at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, or Drive Safe Kalamazoo, at Western Michigan University and BUSY at Gulfport High School in Gulfport, Mississippi offer to give free rides home on weekend nights to fellow students.


United States

Numerous businesses have sprouted up across the United States to help address the problem of drinking and driving. Some transport their drivers home, as passengers, using one of three methods: car, collapsible scooter, or foldable bike. These are not necessarily true designated driver programs, but instead Safe Ride programs, as the sober driver is not designated from within the natural drinking group. [9] Designated Drivers, Inc, was founded in 1998 and later based out of Las Vegas, NV. This company has used two person teams: one person to drive the impaired individual in their own vehicle, and the other person as the follow driver. Pittsburgh's Pear Transportation Company, aka The Pear Cares, has also become well known for using the two-person team approach. [10] Dryver, formerly known as BeMyDD, established itself by offering designated driver services for events, car pickups for drivers who are too impaired to make it home, and personal drivers for evenings out. [11] NightRiders, Incorporated was the first company to use collapsible, motorized scooters in the US. The drivers drove customers home using their own vehicles, stowing a scooter in the customer's trunk (or truck). Upon arrival to the customer's destination, the driver parked the vehicle, collected the fare, assembled the scooter from the vehicle, and rode off to the next customer. This company is now out of business, according to their website. Zingo Transportation has operated this kind of service in southern US cities since 2005.

South Korea

Designated driver services in South Korea are widely prevalent and in high demand, especially in major cities such as Seoul and Busan. Designated driver call centers operate as a central dispatch with some vendors providing mobile apps to request a driver. The driver arrives at the location of the customer's vehicle and will drive it to the requested location for a fee. The Korean language word for these designated drivers for hire is 'dae-ri un-jeon' (대리운전) meaning replacement driver. According to the Korea Service Driver Society, an estimated 100,000 replacement drivers handle 700,000 customers a day across the country (2007) [12]


Designated driver services in Australia exist in many capital cities and regional towns. The service is in high demand due to highly regulated, unreliable taxi services. [13]

New Zealand

In 2017, Coca-Cola announced a promotion to encourage people to have sober drivers by offering free Coca-Cola. [14]



Canada has a long history with designated driver services provided by private enterprise going back to 1996 in Ontario. One of central Ontario's largest designated driver services CABn aHALF has transported thousands of clients home over the years. In the last 5 to 6 years, a number of designated driving services have cropped up all over the province with companies such as The DD Service bringing technology and professionalism to industry. [15]

British Columbia

B.C. has a huge market of designated driver services and new are created monthly. Companies throughout the province work 7 days a week to drive intoxicated individuals home in their own vehicles for a fee. If you expect customer service it is not the goal. The DD industry is not regular means for travel but a lifeline service [16]

Hong Kong

The designated driver service in Hong Kong still under the initial stage. Some company conduct the profession service for public such as Hong Kong Designated Driver Limited (HKDD) and easydrive in Hong Kong work whole week to help individuals safely go home in their own cars. The HKDD also provide Android and iOS mobile APP for their users. [17] [18]


British Columbia, Canada

Some designated driver services have formed a special bond between breathalyzer manufacturers/distributors. They operate by combining their services at the point of sale during a special licensed event. Such events have been the Rockin' River Music Festival (2013), and Gone Country: Here for the Cure (2013). By allowing guests to know whether they are legal to drive and educate them on the current local laws concerning DUI, this method has been shown to reduce the potential for incidence related to drinking and driving. All intoxicated persons can be referred to waiting drivers on standby to take them home in their own vehicle safely. Currently only one company in Canada, Canadian Breath Analyzer or CBAC" conducts operations with local licensed designated driver services.[ citation needed ]

Related Research Articles

Blood alcohol content Metric of alcohol intoxication

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC), also called blood alcohol content, blood ethanol concentration, or blood alcohol level, is most commonly used as a metric of alcohol intoxication for legal or medical purposes.

Drunk driving is the act of operating a motor vehicle with the operator's ability to do so impaired as a result of alcohol consumption, or with a blood alcohol level in excess of the legal limit. For drivers 21 years or older, driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is illegal. For drivers under 21 years old, the legal limit is lower, with state limits ranging from 0.00 to 0.02. Lower BAC limits apply when operating boats, airplanes, or commercial vehicles. Among other names, the criminal offense of drunk driving may be called driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated or impaired (DWI), operating [a] vehicle under the influence of alcohol (OVI), or operating while impaired (OWI).

Vehicular homicide is a crime that involves the death of a person other than the driver as a result of either criminally negligent or murderous operation of a motor vehicle.

Ignition interlock device

An ignition interlock device or breath alcohol ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer for an individual's vehicle. It requires the driver to blow into a mouthpiece on the device before starting or continuing to operate the vehicle. If the resultant breath-alcohol concentration analyzed result is greater than the programmed blood alcohol concentration, the device prevents the engine from being started. The interlock device is located inside the vehicle, near the driver’s seat, and is directly connected to the engine’s ignition system.

Commercial drivers license

A commercial driver's license is a driver's license required to operate large, heavy, or placarded hazardous material vehicles in commerce.

Public intoxication

Public intoxication, also known as "drunk and disorderly" and drunk in public, is a summary offense in some countries rated to public cases or displays of drunkenness. Public intoxication laws vary widely from jurisdiction, but usually require some obvious display of intoxicated incompetence or behavior disruptive/obnoxious to public order before the charge is levied.

Bob campaign

The Bob campaign aims to raise awareness of the dangers of drink-driving; drivers with high blood alcohol content are at increased risk of car accidents, highway injuries and vehicular deaths. Alongside the general information that is offered during the campaign, there is an increased police surveillance, especially during the weeks running up to Christmas and New Year's Eve. Most of all, the campaign focuses on a designated driver approach.

Usage-based insurance (UBI) also known as pay as you drive (PAYD) and pay how you drive (PHYD) and mile-based auto insurance is a type of vehicle insurance whereby the costs are dependent upon type of vehicle used, measured against time, distance, behavior and place.

NightRiders, Incorporated was the first U.S. designated-driver-for-hire service to use collapsible motor scooters, also known as monkey bikes.

Lyft American transportation network company

Lyft, Inc. is a transportation network company (TNC) based in San Francisco, California and operating in 640 cities in the United States and 9 cities in Canada. It develops, markets, and operates the Lyft mobile app, offering car rides, scooters, and a bicycle-sharing system.

Random checkpoint A temporary military or police roadblock set up in a semi-random location, e.g. to search for contraband or fugitives, or to indentify intoxicated drivers

A random checkpoint is a military and police tactic. In a military context, checkpoints involve the setup of a hasty roadblock by mobile truck- or armored vehicle-mounted infantry to disrupt unauthorized or unwanted movement or military activity and to check for valid identification and search for contraband, fugitives, or weapons that are not permitted in civilian hands. Random checkpoints are set up to achieve surprise, as opposed to known permanently located checkpoints, which suspects could circumvent. They are often established in locations where they cannot be observed by approaching traffic until it is too late to withdraw and escape without being observed.

A DR10 is a United Kingdom motoring endorsement issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and UK Police which means driving or attempting to drive with a blood alcohol level above the allowable limit. Following an arrest for a DR10 one can expect a ban from driving and a fine. In more serious cases, a Community Order, or a prison term of up to 6 months may be issued.

Impaired driving is the term used in Canada to describe the criminal offence of operating, having care or the control of a motor vehicle while the person's ability to operate the motor vehicle is impaired by alcohol or a drug. Impaired driving is punishable under multiple offences in the Criminal Code, with greater penalties depending on the harm caused by the impaired driving. It can also result in various types of driver's licence suspensions.

The laws of driving under the influence vary between countries. One difference is the acceptable limit of blood alcohol content before a person is charged with a crime.

Drunk drivers

People driving under the influence of alcohol are commonly referred to as drunk drivers, or drink-drivers.

"[a]lcohol-related motor vehicle accidents claim 17,000 American lives each year- the equivalent of one death every 30 minutes. An increase of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02 percent doubles the relative risk of a motor vehicle crash among 16- to 20-year-old males, and that risk increases to nearly 52 times when the BAC is between 0.08 percent and 0.10 percent, the legal limits in many states."

About 25% of all road fatalities in Europe are alcohol-related whereas about only 1,6% of all kilometres driven in Europe are driven by drivers with 0,5 g/l alcohol or more in their blood.

Drug–impaired driving Driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of an impairing substance

Drug–impaired driving, in the context of its legal definition, is the act of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of an impairing substance. DUID, or Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, is prohibited in many countries. Several American states and European countries now have "per se" DUID laws that presume a driver is impaired if they are found to have any detectable quantity of controlled substances in their body while operating an automobile and that the driver has no doctor's prescription for the substance. This is similar to the "per se" DUI/DWI laws that presume a driver is impaired when their blood alcohol content is above a certain level. There is some controversy with "per se" DUID laws in that a driver with any detectable quantity of controlled substances may not in fact be impaired and the detectable quantity in blood or sweat may be only the remnants of drug use in days or weeks past.

Driving under the influence (DUI) occurs when a person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or when the driver has a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or greater. Minors can be charged with impaired driving based on blood alcohol levels of 0.01 or higher, and CDL license holders can be charged based upon blood alcohol levels of 0.04 or higher.

Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Corporation

The Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Corporation is a Crown Agency that sells lottery products, operates the Winnipeg casinos and is responsible for the distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages in the Canadian province of Manitoba. It was created in 2013 with the merger of the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) and Manitoba Lotteries Corporation (MLC). Its headquarters are located in the provincial capital, Winnipeg.


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  6. " – a legal vehicle that drives autonomous vehicles" . Retrieved 2018-10-30.Cite web requires |website= (help)
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