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For the first several years of my drinking career, I drank and drove. Actually, I got totally wasted and drove. I’m not proud of that, but feel that by way of full disclosure I have to put it out there. Thankfully I never was involved in a DUI, and my car always found its way home.

Once I stopped drinking and driving, I ended up the default designated driver. If he wasn’t at work, my spouse wouldn’t go anywhere he couldn’t drink, so I gradually took over all of the driving duties when we were together. As my daughter got older, I became the mom the kids could call if they needed a driver, for whatever reason. Sometimes their planned ride home fell through, or their designated driver got wasted didn’t show up — it didn’t matter, they could call and I would come get them. “It’s okay — we can call my mom!” Georgia would say, over the protests of her friends, usually male, who were embarrassed. But none of them ever refused to get in the car.

Now things are a bit different. Now the request is, “Mom, would you mind taking me to the bar?” Let’s face it — cabs are expensive, and I would so much rather drive my grown child to the bar occasionally than have her even consider driving herself (which she wouldn’t do) or taking a cab. I appreciate how conscientious she is about not driving anywhere after having alcohol. I wish I had been the same way at her age. Of course, the DUI penalties 40 years ago were nothing like they are now, and MADD was not out there educating drivers, but the results could have been every bit as devastating had I had an accident. And I truly don’t ever remember even considering the ramifications of having a wreck.

Long live the designated driver…and her passengers.

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