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Volunteering to be the designated driver, whether you're going out with a group or just with your significant other, is admirable. You are helping to ensure that both you and your friends get home safely. Many Georgia restaurants and other establishments even offer free soda and coffee to designated drivers.

However, it's essential to remember that you're the one responsible for the safety of everyone in the car. Having one, two or more inebriated passengers could cause serious distractions that can compromise your ability to drive safely.

A study by an insurance company in the United Kingdom found that almost 60 percent of designated drivers reported passengers engaging in behavior that could result in an accident, such as being extremely noisy, throwing up in the car and directly distracting them. A number also reported that they were asked to drive home additional people they hadn't planned for.

Of course, if one of the passengers decides to take a bit of the party home with an open container of alcohol, even if it's some vodka poured into a water bottle, the driver could face serious penalties. In Georgia, even a first conviction for having an open container can result in fines, license suspension and even potentially jail time.

If you are involved in an accident caused by another driver, even if that driver was not driving under the influence, it's important to look at what kind of distractions he or she may have been experiencing at the time of the crash. Your attorney can work to ensure that you have all of the facts about what was going on in the car and if there may have been an open container of alcohol that was accessible to anyone, including the driver. This information may help you if you need to seek compensation for injuries and other damages.

Source: Claims Journal, "5 Things Designated Drivers Don’t Want Passengers to do on the Drive Home," accessed Jan. 26, 2017

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