Let's be honest; the life of a designated driver isn't exactly glamorous. Watching everyone else party down while remaining studiously sober so you can drive everyone home in your car can be a drag, especially on holidays like the Fourth of July.
Sure, it's a nice thing to do, and I've done it plenty of times. But what if there were a way to get everyone home safely that didn't involve a cab ride and the attendant scramble to pick up your car the next day? Turns out, in a lot of places, there is: professional designated drivers.
Professional designated driving services come in a lot of different flavors, but they basically work like this: You call a phone number or make a reservation on your smart phone. The service drops a driver off wherever you and your car are stuck. The driver drives you and your passengers home in your car and then he or she gets picked up and whisked away to their next appointment.
The costs seemed pretty reasonable, at least in my area. I calculated some trips from popular local bars to my house on the website of local designated driver service RedCap, and the quoted price was usually around the same cost as a cab ride, with the bonus that I wouldn't have to arrange a separate ride for the morning. A couple of the sites I visited also said you can save money by purchasing the ride ahead of time for a pre-planned night of revelry. Whatever the cost is, though, it's probably less than the $20,000 a DUI could ding you for, and it will keep you and other drivers safe, to boot.
There a few drawbacks, however. Some of the companies I looked at seemed to have pretty truncated hours for a service that looks to help people get home at the end of the night. The latest I could reserve a ride home was 2 a.m.; meanwhile, many local bars don't close until 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. Some of the services claimed you could arrange later pickups ahead of time on a case-by-case basis.
But if you think a designated driver service sounds right for you, you can find a comprehensive list of designated driver services by state or county on DrinkingAndDriving.org.