A Wisconsin Couple Used a 9-Year-Old as a Designated Driver

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Common sense tells the vast majority of parents that having a 9-year-old serve as your designated driver is a terrible idea.

But that’s exactly what one intoxicated Wisconsin couple did — and now they’re paying the price.

On Jan. 30, police responded to reports of an erratic driver on a rural road. What they discovered was a 9-year-old girl behind the wheel of a pickup truck, along with a 1-year-old in a car seat and an extremely intoxicated couple.

According to NBC News, Jason Roth and the child’s mother, Amanda Eggert, were arrested and charged with recklessly endangering safety and neglecting a child. “Both the male and female were quite intoxicated,” states court papers. “They were both having a difficult time keeping their balance and were slurring their words.”

In Wisconsin, minors must be at least 15.5 in order to obtain their learner’s permit. A probationary driver’s license can be obtained at age 16 and a non-restricted license at age 18. Needless to say, the girl in this case was much too young to be behind the wheel — even with adults in the car.

Judging by the aggressive interactions from Eggert in the story, she was much too intoxicated to be behind the wheel of a vehicle herself. Her blood alcohol content (BAC) was likely well above the legal threshold. (A BAC higher than .008 is legally drunk in all 50 states.) While it’s good that Roth and Eggert were aware that drinking and driving are a deadly combination, there were better options than having a child drive them.

Parents, if you’re out (with or without your children) to eat, or visiting with a friend and suspect your BAC is hovering near “legally drunk,” here are a few safe options to consider:

  • Call a friend  or family member to pick you up.
  • Designate a driver of legal age beforehand.
  • Take a taxi.
  • Use public transportation.
  • Call an Uber driver.
  • Consult the National Directory of Designated Driver Services to see if there are designated driver services are available in your area.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) 28 people die every single day in motor vehicle crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. That’s one death every 53 minutes.

Don’t become a statistic.

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