Paul Nesbitt just wants local teens and young adults to get home safely. (Photo: Contributed)
Paul Nesbitt just wants local teens and young adults to get home safely. (Photo: Contributed)

Dads become designated drivers

by - Story: 50706

Moms aren't the only ones who worry about how their kids will get home safely after a night of partying and one Kelowna dad has decided to do something about it.

Paul Nesbitt has created a volunteer service called Canadian Designated Driver Dads Inc. with the simple purpose of making sure teens and young adults have a safe ride home after a night of partying and drinking.

CDDD offers rides home from nightclubs and house parties for both the teens and young adults who have been drinking and their vehicle.

“Many teens get behind the wheel of their car once they've had a few because they don't want to leave their vehicle behind, so we will drive it home for them. We work in teams of three. Two dads drive with the teen in their vehicle and the third follows us and then takes the dads home,” says Nesbitt.

The father of two came up with the idea about six months ago when he was sitting at home with his wife one night.

“The idea just came to me. I'm like every other dad in the city who feels terrible about seeing news reports about teens being injured or killed because of a night of drinking and driving, knowing that those tragedies could have easily been avoided,” says Nesbitt.

He says they might be the dad equivalent of MADD.

“I wondered, where are the dads in all that? Because the dads feel the same way, so it was a little like a call to action, 'come on dads of the city, let's do something about it.”

Nesbitt says the way the program works is he and his volunteer dads, of whom he has 23, approach the doormen and bartenders at area bars and nightclubs in the downtown area on weekend nights and let them know that their service is available that night.

“It can depend on how many volunteers we have working any given night. On a busy night, we can give as many as ten rides home.”

He says there is no flat fee for the service, it is all by donation.

“The volunteers take what they need from the donations to pay for their gas and expenses and the rest of the money we donate to MADD.”

Nesbitt says the biggest challenge they face is getting known.

“We want kids to know that this service exists for them, all they have to do is call and we will come get them. It's much better than driving home drunk. We just want the kids to be safe.”

He says all the dad volunteers have to have a clean criminal record and valid driver's licenses.

The CDDD has a license with the City of Kelowna to transport passengers as a taxi service because there is no category for designated drivers.

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