How many times have you gone out for a night of fun and your designated driver is found with a beer or glass of wine in his or her hand? Of course, the explanation is always something like “I’m only having one” or “I’ll stop early so I’ll be good to drive.” The question then becomes one of trust. How much do you trust your friend to get you home safe? Remember, it is highly unlikely that the Saint Petersburg bartender will deny your designated driver a drink. You are an adult and it is your responsibility to plan responsibly.
A story out of Berkeley, California raises this question, as it is reported by Berkeleyside, that Anthony Edward Torpey, a 21-year-old local was captured by police after he fled the scene of an accident. What makes matters worse is that Torpey fled knowing that his 24-year-old friend was in the passenger seat fighting for his life. The passenger was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital for emergency care.
Police chased down the driver and arrested him. He is being held on charges of DUI, felony hit and run, and driving with a suspended license.
It is obviously unclear what state the passenger was in prior to the crash, but this story does point to a serious issue. Whether you are a teenager or an adult, choosing to ride with a friend is a major decision. You are entrusting that person with your life. Even the most reliable friends can make very poor decisions when alcohol is involved.
The old adage of choosing a designated driver before heading out for the evening may not be enough, if peer pressure is going to lead that person to grab a beer. It might be a better idea to call a cab, to choose a bar or restaurant within walking distance, or to carry the phone number of a loved one who is more trustworthy and willing to pick you up if things don’t go as planned.
When you are drinking and relying on someone else to get you home, be sure that you are not overdoing it. If you have had too much alcohol and cannot make a clear assessment of the state of the driver, then you are taking an unnecessary risk.
Remember that it can take more than one hour for the body to break down the alcohol found in a single bottle of beer. Therefore, the “I’ll quit drinking early” theory is hardly a reliable one and those who start drinking are more likely to continue doing so. Even a short trek through St. Petersburg can be fatal when the driver is under the influence.
Be a Responsible DD. As the designated driver, you can be found negligent if you are found to be under the influence at the scene of an accident. When you put the lives of your friends in danger, cause them serious injury, wreck their cars, or otherwise negatively impact their lives, can you trust that they won’t hire a personal injury attorney?
The driver in the story above is being held on $91,200 bail and likely stands to lose a great deal more in court. How much can you afford to lose if your bad decision-making puts your friends’ lives at risk?