Designated drivers for groups of people can celebrate the holidays in Ventura County with free drinks--free non-alcoholic drinks, that is.
Restaurants and bars involved in the Ventura County Designated Driver Program, which began Wednesday, will provide free non-alcoholic drinks to designated drivers as part of a joint effort by law enforcement agencies, community organizations and businesses, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and Assemblyman Jack O'Connell (D-Carpinteria).
"This program's key is prevention," O'Connell said. "It's not after the fact."
So far, 20 restaurants and bars, which will absorb all costs, have signed up. An establishment can be identified as a participant by a poster hanging inside the building's entrance.
O'Connell said Orange County and Santa Barbara County have similar programs. He said Santa Barbara's program started in June, 1988, with 12 members and has grown to 50. Alcohol-related collisions have dropped 11% in that time, although those statistics are not directly related to the program, O'Connell said.