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How to Implement a Community-Based Designated Driver Program

  Program Planning
  Program Marketing

Tips for Specific Groups


  Educators/College Groups
  Criminal Justice
  Medical and Health Care Community
  Hospitality Industry and Retailers
  Armed Forces

Publicity and Promotion
  Working with the Media
  Calendar of Year Round Ideas
  Media Q&A

  Partners and Resources


Designated Driver programs are a key component of a community-based comprehensive impaired driving prevention effort. Combined with highly visible law enforcement, a Designated Driver program gives people the information they need to make informed choices and seek

alternatives to driving while impaired. Safe Ride programs provide transportation for persons who plan to drink.

Designated Driver programs typically promote the concept of designating a sober driver, but variations may exist depending on the needs of the community. An important part of a community-based Designated Driver program is the concept of "Safe Ride." These alternative methods of transportation provide people who have consumed alcohol with safe rides home. Some are privately funded while others are run through public-private partnerships.


Designated Drivers are effective because many of the risks related to impaired driving are removed. Nine out of 10

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Americans who participate in social events where alcohol is available believe that people should use Designated Drivers. Designated driving programs are simple, requiring as few as two people to operate. The only requirement is that people plan ahead and either select one person to refrain from drinking alcohol or arrange for a safe ride home. Designating a sober driver in situations when alcohol is present is something that should always be practiced.

Designated Driver programs help convey impaired driving prevention messages to the community, and illustrate the number of ways communities can encourage safe and sober driving practices.

Designating a driver is the most responsible thing an individual can do: and remember, the Designated Driver is not the person who's the most sober.

There are other benefits as well. Designated Driver programs can have a positive effect on people who do not regularly use a Designated Driver or know how to locate a safe ride. People who become aware of the program may be motivated to try to avoid driving after drinking.



For 58 years, the Ad Council has created the timely and compelling public service messages Americans needed to hear. Its mission is to use the power of advertising to raise awareness of, and stimulate action against, problems confronting Americans. One such problem is drinking and driving.

By creating the Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk campaign, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Ad Council launched an effort that would change the way Americans think about drinking and driving. Eighty-four percent of Americans recall having seen or heard a Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk public service announcement. Nearly 80 percent report they took action to prevent a friend or loved one from driving drunk, and 25 percent report they stopped drinking and driving as a result of the campaign.

The Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk campaign has taken many forms. Most recently, the "Innocent Victims" phase of PSAs features victims of drunk driving crashes. The message is clear: drunk driving is a deadly act that ends thousands of lives each year.

The Ad Council has produced PSAs for TV, radio, print, out of home and online media outlets. These PSAs encourage individuals to intervene and do whatever it takes to prevent someone from drinking and driving. The Ad Council PSAs are available for distribution to your local media outlets' public service directors to support your efforts to prevent drunk driving. By doing so, you can increase exposure of the impaired driving issue.

The Friends Campaign is produced in partnership with RADD and NAB.

For more information, please visit

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