Designated Driver Programs (DDPs) and Ride Service Programs (RSPs) are community-based approaches to preventing impaired driving. It is not sufficient to have an individual DDP at a local restaurant, or a few taxi cabs providing safe rides home on the weekend to reduce a community-wide problem such as alcohol impaired driving. These programs must pervade the community to have their impact on drinking and driving. Accordingly, these programs are described as a package of community-wide programs demanding the active cooperation of a healthy mix of community partners to succeed.
A designated driver is one person, in a group of two or more drinkers, who agrees not to drink alcoholic beverages, and to transport the members of the group home safely.
Server-based DDPs are set up in public or private establishments that serve alcohol, where the idea of using a designated driver is introduced by the server. DDPs may also be drinker-based. Any people drinking in groups, at parties or sporting events, or a friend's back yard, may decide that one member of the group will be a designated driver to get the other group members home safely.
Community-wide DDPs are designated by a centralized organization in a community, composed of a wide spectrum of partners, all of whom have something to gain by reducing alcohol-related crashes.
In a community-wide program, the costs of developing and disseminating promotional materials can be spread across many sponsors, so that single organizations or groups do not have to carry the burden alone. When messages encouraging designated drivers come from many sources, more people are exposed to the DDP concept, and more people may be likely to use designated drivers. Community-wide DDPs splash the DDP concept throughout the community, rather than just introducing it in isolated establishments.
A single agency, such as the mayor's office, the local police agency, the downtown business association, or a local ABC Board can coordinate the program. It could be any of the major community partners. Just make sure there's no duplication of effort!
While community-wide coordination of programs is critical, running successful DDPs in restaurants and bars also requires attention to details. A successful DDP should do the following:
If a designated driver is not selected, identify alternative transportation options for patrons.
As an alternative to DDPs, community-wide RSPs provide safe rides home for individuals who are judged (by themselves or others) to be too alcohol impaired to drive themselves home.
Ride home might be provided in taxis, vans, or private vehicles.
The same group of potential partners that were cited in community-wide DDPs should also support RSPs.
Again, as with the same question concerning DDPs, a single community agency is best, but it doesn't really matter which one.
Targets would be drinkers who drive, organizations and establishments where they drink, social hosts, and specific groups at high risk for drinking and driving, such as young males and patrons of alcohol-serving establishments.
The criteria for eligibility to use the RSP should be relaxed, while still focusing on the person who is impaired, especially by alcohol, who probably would have driven after drinking.
The community offering an RSP should publicize it through as wide a variety of media as possible (newspapers, radio, television, billboards, signs on public transportation, direct mail, and at establishments that serve alcohol) to reach the broadcast audience.
The name and phone number of the program must be made available everywhere, in the public media and at the establishments where drinking is done
For RSPs limited to holiday periods, a media "blitz" should start at least one week before the service begins and continue throughout the period. For year round programs, the publicity should occur periodically with less intensity than the holiday blitz, and with greater intensity during high-risk DWI holiday periods.
An RSP, in addition to safe rides, often provides other relevant prevention and intervention services, such as training alcohol-serving establishments about responsible service; providing corporate event risk management; and offering non-intrusive written information to customers on BAC levels, signs of substance abuse, and phone numbers where they may receive information or help.
A model RSP, especially a year-round program, receives a relatively small proportion of funding from many different community sources (perhaps the same community partners who set up a DDP) to ensure consistent funding and reduce the risk that withdrawal or reduction of funding from one or two sources would create problems.
Maintaining a variety of sources increases the administrative workload of the program, but reduces dependence on larger donors. Funding resources can include cash, in-kind services (publicity), and equipment. Resources might be sought from such groups as:
The information on this page, in whole or in part, was developed by the University of Oklahoma Police Department (OUPD). They have generously allowed our department to use this information.