While the concept of a designated driver isn’t a new one, making a business out of keeping drinking drivers off the road by providing them a chauffeured service is a bit novel. A news report out of San Antonio caught our eye, so we thought we’d expand a bit on the idea here. And, no, we don't have anything against the BMW, pictured above. It's just illustrative of a car driving at night.
The brainchild of business partners Arthur Simanovsky and Alexa Milkovich, the Cleveland-based Be My Designated Driver, or BeMyDD, has taken off – literally. The service is now in 21 cities in seven states, with plans to expand to an additional nine states sometime in the future.
What is BeMyDD and how does it differ from a taxi service? For one thing, a taxi can only take you from point A to point B. They’re not always there when you need them and by the time you wait for one you might just grab your keys and head for the door. Being too tipsy to drive – or even close to or just over the limit – you’re putting yourself and others at risk if you get behind the wheel.
Sure, there’s always the person in the group that’s been collared to perform the designated driver duties. But this isn’t failsafe either. What happens when the person figures that just one can’t hurt and that single drink turns into multiples? There goes the designated driver. And you’re off celebrating this or that until the time comes to go home and there’s no sober driver in sight.
We’re all familiar with the idea of a chauffeur-driven limousine to carry a celebrating party to and from proms, awards ceremonies, weddings and other celebrations. This is the same concept, except that it doesn’t need to be a special occasion.
And it’s not all that expensive, either. BeMyDD has two types of services that it offers. There’s the straight up Reserve a Driver for $12.50 to $15.00 per hour, or the $25.00 per hour plus expenses pick-up service. In the personal driver service, a driver in a suit and a tie will pick you up and drive you wherever you want to go, wait for you, and take you home. In the pick-up service, when you’ve already driven somewhere and need to get you and your car safely home, two drivers will pick you up, one drives you home while the other drives your vehicle home.
Who are these designated drivers? They’re all excellent and safe drivers over the age of 25, fully insured, and who have been through a thorough interview, screening and background check.
Sounds like something that might work in any number of cities across the U.S. where too much partying has resulted in extraordinary carnage and tragedy on the highways caused by drinking drivers.
For now, here’s where you can find BeMyDD services: Virginia Beach (including Norfolk), Virginia; Indianapolis, Indiana; Chicago, Illinois; Washington, D.C. (including surrounding Virginia and Maryland); Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky; Fort Myers/Naples, Miami/Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Florida; Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo, Ohio; and Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, Texas.
Coming soon in 2011 are Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Other states listed as “coming soon” include California, Nevada, Minnesota, Missouri, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Rhode Island.
Founders of the company insist that they’re not about promoting drinking. But if people are going to drink, there should at least be an alternative to them getting on the road and driving impaired or drunk. Services such as BeMyDD may be a wise choice.
It’s at least a step in the right direction. Anything to get drinking drivers off the road is a good thing. And if the person who plans on having a little celebration is responsible enough to utilize such a proactive step as hiring a designated driver service, perhaps that’s all the better.