Accepting the job of designated driver comes with great responsibility. The designated driver sacrifices for the group and accepts the responsibility of forgoing the activities in order to get his or her friends home safely at the end of the night. By agreeing to the job the designated driver is telling their friends that they are free to safely drink without concern for their lives or possibly impacting the lives of others on the road. These group members trust that their designated driver will fully and completely fulfill the role they accepted. So, what are some of the possible outcomes when the designated driver does not take their job seriously? Hint, they can be deadly.
An online article on the Hudson Valley News Network discusses the case of a Carmel gentleman who agreed to be the designated driver for a group of friends. The friends met at a local pub where they drank for several hours until closing time. Unfortunately, the designated driver had been smoking marijuana throughout the day and had also drunk along with his friends. It is not discussed whether the friends fully understood that their designated driver was not capable of driving them home at the end of the evening, but no matter they piled into his truck for the drive home. Apparently the friends noticed very quickly that their designate driver should not be driving as they repeatedly asked him to stop and let them out. Unfortunately the driver ultimately lost control and crashed into a tree. The front seat occupant had to be flown by StatFlight to a local hospital and has permanent life-altering physical injuries. The other occupants were also injured but have recovered. The driver is to be sentenced soon and will face 1.5 to 4.5 years in prison.
A designated driver or other safe way home in an important consideration when going out to drink with friends. In cases where someone has been defined as the designated driver it is important that other group members help that person stick to their role and to not consume alcohol. For their own safety the other group members may want to keep a partial eye on their designated driver to make sure they are staying sober.