There is nothing new about the above headline, but the truth is, many of us don’t take it seriously enough. Before we even head out to that restaurant or bar or party, we should have a reliable and responsible designated driver assigned to get us home safely. That means the designated driver should be the one who drives everyone in our group to the event and someone who everyone trusts will remain sober—that includes no drugs. Too often, a plan is not made ahead and the person who seems the soberest will get the job of driving. This may boost the ego of the “designated driver” who thinks they can better hold their alcohol than the rest or limit their consumption, but it takes very little alcohol to affect a person’s drivingand put them at risk for a DUI. The best designated driver is the one who has not been drinking any alcoholic beverages.

Realistically, there is not always someone in the group who volunteers to be the designated driver. In that case, other plans should be put into place before heading out for the event.  For example, everyone could agree to meet a one person’s house and pitch in for a ride share or taxi to the event and back. Of course, there would also need to be a prior agreement that the group can sleep at the meeting house.  In cities that allow overnight parking, money could be saved by driving to the event but taking a rideshare or taxi back and picking up the car the next morning.

Another option may be to find someone who is willing to pick the group up when called. Maybe a parent or spouse would be willing to fill this role. But plan ahead! Make sure that person is aware that you will call for a ride; don’t expect to make a drunk 1 a.m. call asking for a pick-up.

If you are part of a group that regularly goes out drinking together, consider taking turns being a designated driver.  Many times, the person who is not a “big” drinker will be stuck with the job, but that creates resentment. It could be part of the deal: If you want to hang out with our group then you need to occasionally be the designated driver.

Some cities and states even have professional designated driver services. These services may only operate during eventsor near college campuses, but some states offer these services across the state—unfortunately California is not currently one of them. However, there are services in Orange County that will provide a designated driver for a fee. The costs aren’t particularly expensive and some of them will take you in your own car and come back when called and take you home again in your car.

Whether you appoint a trusted designated driver or make other arrangements, it is important to have a solid and reliable plan in place beforethat first drink. After the drinking has begun, decision-making is distorted.

Orange County DUI defense attorney William Weinberg hopes you never drink and drive. But if you do and you find yourself slapped with a DUI, he can help. Mr. Weinberg has been defending those accused of driving under the influence for 25 years. He is available for a free consultation to discuss your matter. You can reach him at his Irvine office at 949-474-8008 or by email at

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