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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


The criminal justice system is a vital part of your community's Designated Driver program. Research shows that public education, combined with highly visible law enforcement, helps people change their behavior. Prosecutors and judges are equally important, as they are the individuals responsible for trying the impaired driving cases, and handing down penalties, fines and jail sentences.


High visibility enforcement combined with public education is a powerful force in the fight against impaired driving. Law enforcement should have a strong role in community-based Designated Driver programs. Here's how law enforcement can become more involved:

  • Establish partnerships with existing organizations to assist in ongoing public outreach programs.
  • Promote the benefits of Designated Driver programs to community organizations such as Lions Club, U.S. Jaycees or the American Legion.
  • Establish a visible presence in areas that have a high density of establishments that serve alcohol.
  • Distribute fliers at community events or enforcement activities.
  • Volunteer to speak to community groups, church groups or neighborhood gatherings.
  • Conduct workshops with community leaders about the effects and consequences of impaired driving.


Prosecutors and judges can play a valuable role in spreading impaired driving messages, and helping to promote a community's Designated Driver campaign. They understand the legal consequences of impaired driving – and can serve as good sources of information and support when it comes to planning Designated Driver programs. Here are some ideas on how they can help:

  • Share stories of true-to-life incidents that show the negative consequences of impaired driving, as well as demonstrate the need for sober drivers.
  • Conduct tours of the jail where impaired drivers are detained.
  • Help illustrate the difference between making good and bad choices, highlighting how making the simple choice to designate a sober driver can prevent criminal behavior and/or tragedy.
  • Actively prosecute impaired driving offenses.
  • Discuss liability issues for hosts who allow impaired guests to drive home.
  • Serve as legal counsel or advisor to a Designated Driver program.

Prosecutors and judges can also be effective spokespersons for Designated Driver programs. Their experiences with impaired driving cases makes them natural candidates to encourage the use of Designated Drivers. Their knowledge of the subject, and the respect they hold within a community, allow prosecutors and judges to support Designated Driver programs by:

  • Promoting Designated Drivers through media interviews.
  • Appearing in television and radio PSAs promoting Designated Driver programs and impaired driving prevention.

By securing the support of local prosecutors and judges in advance, you can help ensure that they are prepared for any increases in impaired driving cases that may result from increased enforcement. They should be made aware of the issues and shown the statistics on prevention, as well as encouraged to participate in a sobriety checkpoint, saturation patrol or other enforcement activity.



Operation C.A.R.E. is collaboration between 49 State Police agencies designed to combat impaired driving through law enforcement and prevention messages. Together, the agencies operate nationwide sobriety checkpoint and saturation patrol mobilizations in July and December, and are responsible for implementing the Holiday Lifesavers Weekend activities. For more information, please visit

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