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Your Career

Keep What You've Earned

Give the Gift of a Designated Driver

The holidays may be over, but you can still give the gift of a designated driver (DD). The Keep What You've Earned Campaign's online pledge continues through Feb. 14, 2018, giving Sailors and members of the Navy community an extended opportunity to show their appreciation for others by serving as designated drivers.

Those who've pledged say being a DD is a meaningful way to help others. It also helps you feel greater senses of purpose and fulfillment.

It's the perfect way to pitch in on Super Bowl Sunday instead of bringing snacks to the party, and makes a great Valentine's Day gift. (Check out ideas for an alcohol-free Valentine's Day here.)

Giving the gift of a DD is simple. Just visit https://go.usa.gov/xnj86 to take an anonymous pledge to serve as a designated driver. Then, head to the Keep What You've Earned Campaign's Flickr page to download free Super Bowl or Valentine's Day-themed gift cards to print and present to others.

Being a designated driver can not only save lives, it can also save you and your friends' money, a New Year's resolution for many. The cost of a driving under the influence (DUI) charge is steep. In fact, Sailors can lose anywhere from $10,000 to more than $1 million over their lifetimes because of drinking and driving. Check out all the details in this infographic.

Hundreds of Sailors have already taken the pledge and shared their motivation for serving as DDs online. One participant said he'd "had enough close encounters where something could have happened to [him] or others simply because [he] didn't plan accordingly." Meanwhile, another participant shared that she has seen "way too many alcohol-related incidents. ... One is one too many."

Once you've committed to being a DD, there are some ways to make sure it's a stress-free experience.

1. Choose a time that works for you. While there's never a bad time to be a DD, you may want to give some thought to when you'll be ready and willing to serve. If you know you'll be tempted to have a few brews at Tuesday night happy hour, don't offer to be DD at this time. Don't put yourself and others at risk if you don't think you'll truly spend the evening alcohol-free.

2. Make a list and check it twice. Who's coming? Where are you going? What time are you leaving? Set a plan that you're comfortable with since you're the driver.

3. Get the keys before you head out. Decide whose car you're driving and get the keys before you leave so you won't have to wrestle for them later.

4. No alcohol at all. A DD isn't just the least drunk of the bunch or the one who's only had a sip or two - it's the person who has agreed ahead of time not to consume any alcohol.

5. Have fun. While avoiding alcohol is one of the most important parts of your commitment, it doesn't mean that you can't enjoy the party. If you show your shipmates that you can still have a good time without alcohol, they'll be more willing to step up to the plate next time and be DDs too.

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In addition to the pledge, the Pier Pressure mobile application is a free resource you can use year-round. This app offers more than just a realistic game; it's a fully-functioning tool box with several easy ways to help you make responsible choices, including a calorie comparison tool, blood alcohol content calculator, access to Uber and Lyft, and an anonymous survey to check how your alcohol consumption could be affecting your life. Pier Pressure is available on the Apple and Google Play stores.

"Pier Pressure is an easy and fun way that our Sailors can plan ahead," said LaNorfeia Parker, deputy director of the Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention program. "It's easier to make good choices when you've got a great plan. We encourage deck plate leaders and families to download and use the app, too. Being familiar with the tools available to our Sailors is the best way to promote them."

For more tips on responsible drinking, as well as materials to download and share, visit the Keep What You've Earned Campaign at https://go.usa.gov/xnXvs.