Designated Driver



Dear Dharma, 

I have been reading your column for a while and like it!  Mostly I agree with your advice, and have had more than a few “oh yeah” moments when you put things clearly so anyone can see.

That’s what I need now!  My husband of 15+ years and I are lucky to have a great group of friends, and we get together for dinners, parties, and all around good times.

The problem is, every once in a while, my husband will insist on driving home, rather than taking a cab.  He is very against drunk driving, and had a few close calls when he was younger. Now he says he can tell when he is fine to drive, and has only had a few drinks, or has waited long enough to be safe.

My question is, is he right?  Can you tell when you have had too much, or should the designated driver be zero drinks?

Let me know before the summer season starts!

Juice and Gin

Dear Juice,

The actual definition of a designated driver is one that doesn’t drink at all in order to ensure the safety of others.  So if your husband is labelling himself as that, he’s already breaking his own code by having even just a few drinks.

Your question of whether or not he can tell if he’s had too much to drink comes too late, as he’s making his decision after his judgment has already been potentially impaired by those very drinks.

So without the benefit of a calibrated breathalyzer and a trained operator at your disposal, the short answer is no, he can’t tell with any degree of accuracy.

The risks he has to weigh every time he makes the decision to drive after even just a few drinks are first and foremost his life, your life and the lives of others.  Additionally, we can’t forget all the legal, financial and social implications that come with blowing over (more than 0.08 BAC), even if no one is in immediate danger.

99% of the Time

The thing is, you could do this 99 times out of a 100 and probably be a-okay with no consequence and no fall out.  And hey, you would have saved like $2000 (based on a $20 cab ride) over a lifetime…  That’s cool, right?  Except…

It’s only going to take that one time for things to go disastrously wrong and the cost to you and everyone else is going to so outweigh that momentary savings, possibly in ways you don’t even want to imagine, that you would probably give your right arm to have done things differently…

So Dharma asks… is it really worth it?

Talk to your husband and come up with a pact to simply get a cab when you know that drinks are being served.  Eliminate the stress, the worry and just go have a good time.



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