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Why I love being the designated driver

By  Monty Dimond

This piece is brought to you by AAMI but is 100% my own story and words. Promise.

Remember getting your very first car? Nothing in my whole life has given me the same feeling of freedom like the day I got my license. Bunny hopping across town in my manual maroon 1991 model Hyundai Excel was such a new and amazing feeling.

Even though I was only 18 years old, I felt like a bona fide adult who could go anywhere my li'l heart desired. I had my glove box stacked with my mixed CDs and I literally wanted to just cruise EVERYWHERE all day long!

I was the first one out of all my mates to get my licence and to have my own wheels, so I was always the designated driver. It might sound like a drag to some but I relished this role. Every Friday and Saturday night I would end up with a carload of broads who would want to cruise through the Macca's drive through on the way home from a dirty disco. Not only would they all chip in for petrol but they always shouted me a McChicken meal as well. As an 18-year-old working for 15 bucks an hour, every extra cent for petrol and free nuggets (with sweet and sour sauce) went a long way.

I have never been much of a partier so being behind the wheel suited me fine. Back in the day I'd have one Bacardi Breezer and my head would spin (but not in a good way) and that is pretty much where my drinking career started and finished.

I still find myself at shindigs sipping on mineral water and the people around me questioning why there is a lack of liquor in my cup. The truth is I am a HOOT with or without booze, so it always surprises me that other people take such offence to my lack of drinking interest.

Now that I am a mum of two boys, I often wonder when they grow up if they will be the designated driver or the party cat throwing back raspberry UDLs and loving the head spin. Oh, how I hope they follow in their good old mum's footsteps because even now that I am in my mid 30s, on those (very) rare occasions I hit the town (and by town I mean a 6pm dinner out of my house) I'm still the one behind the wheel. Just now, there are less people chipping in for my petrol and I have to cough up my own coins for the nuggets. But, I still know how to party – just mine doesn't involve a wretched hangover.

I chatted to Janine Allis on Show + Tell radio this week about her kids going to schoolies and partying, you can listen to that here.

Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth (P.A.R.T.Y.) is a trauma prevention program aimed at young people aged 15-25.

P.A.R.T.Y is based on the understanding that 90% of all injuries are both predictable and preventable. It’s about learning through a vivid and emotional experience from real people and their very real experiences.

It seeks to give participants a snapshot of the possible traumatic and often preventable consequences of risk-related behaviour that can lead to traumatic injury. P.A.R.T.Y. participants spend time with staff in the Emergency & Trauma Centre, the Intensive Care Unit, Trauma Wards, and Rehab units of the hospital getting an up-front, true-to-life experience of the impact of trauma on young lives.

This P.A.R.T.Y. is about experiencing what happens when young people make a decision that changes their life forever.

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