By Saam Banai
Meeting with coworkers after work is a common way to unwind after a hard day at the office. Sharing a few drinks with colleagues in the evening relieves stress, builds friendships, and facilitates interdepartmental communication. Some employees will meet for dinner and a couple of glasses of wine; others will hit the bars in a quest to forget the day’s troubles. Getting everyone home safely after the evening’s events can be a challenge for the unprepared, but it’s certainly worth it to save lives and prevent DUI.
Using a Designated Driver
Having a designated driver is the simplest and most highly recommended approach to ensuring that no one in the group drives home while intoxicated. Select a member of the group who will not drink for the evening and who will be responsible for driving home the rest of the partiers. If everyone in the group would like to drink, drawing straws is a classic approach to determining the designated driver. This approach usually requires a small group that carpools to the bar or restaurant due to the fact that the alternative consists of leaving vehicles at that location overnight.
This approach is not foolproof; it relies upon the designated driver to exercise fortitude and avoid drinking. Being the only sober person in a crowd of drunk people can involve substantial peer pressure to drink, regardless of whether the group has designated that person as sober. Additionally, the designated driver may have to shuttle different coworkers who live many miles apart. This takes time and effort on the part of the driver, and not all groups will have someone willing to do it.
There are professional services available for groups with too many cars to leave or too many people to realistically shuttle around all night. Some of these services are nonprofit services dedicated to making the roads a safer place; others are for-profit services that will charge a fee. These services will drop off a designated driver for the group who will shuttle everyone home. This method has the added benefit of getting everyone’s vehicles home; heading to work in the morning without a vehicle can be difficult. Some of these organizations will require the intoxicated parties to have a vehicle capable of holding a moped.
Taking a Taxi
Having a taxi shuttle everyone home is another option. Virtually any establishment that serves alcohol will have phone numbers for cab companies on hand. Especially in city areas like New York, New Jersy, and Boston, taxis are always available; it’s good to call a NJ taxi service unless you want to have to call a NJ DWI attorney. For coworkers who are intoxicated, who do not have a vehicle, and who need to leave separately, a taxicab can be the most efficient method to get home. Simply call a taxi, get in, and pay when getting home.
Using Public Transportation
Public transportation can be an option in urban areas. Taking a bus or train can be an economical way to get home safely. This approach requires public transportation services adjacent to the restaurant or bar that offer a destination adjacent to the traveler’s home. Additionally, anyone walking home intoxicated should beware of local laws prohibiting intoxicated pedestrians; while being drunk in public is not as serious as driving under the influence, it is still illegal in many jurisdictions.
Not all social gatherings will involve heavy drinking, but it is still important for people to think of staying off the roads after drinking. Driving home after a few drinks exposes the driver to the risk of being pulled over. If the officer smells alcohol, he or she will investigate the possibility that the motorist is intoxicated. Portable breathalyzers can malfunction and motorists who are sober can fail sobriety tests. Anyone who does take a chance on the drive home and who is accused of driving while intoxicated should consult an attorney as soon as possible.
Saam Banai is a freelance writer, editor, and enjoys drinking with coworkers. His experience and knowledge of DWI law has made his firm nationally recognized and has led to the acquisition of multiple awards.