The AMA (Australian Medical Association) is calling on the hospitality industry to do their bit in reducing drink-driving this season by offering designated drivers free or discounted non-alcoholic drinks.
AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, said the hospitality industry was perfectly placed to actively support people who do the right thing by volunteering to be a designated driver.
"These are people who choose to be responsible for getting their friends home safely. The least we can do is offer them free non-alcoholic drinks," she said.
Dr Capolingua said drink-driving is one of the major causes of road accidents or fatalities, and the festive season is often a time of increased risk.
"Any alcohol at all will affect your ability to drive.
"The only way to be certain of staying under the legal, and safe, limit for blood alcohol content is not drink at all if you are planning to drive.
"We rely so much on our designated drivers to behave responsibly at a time when everyone around them may be not quite so well behaved.
"By offering to help them out with the cost of their evening we're encouraging more people to volunteer as the designated driver."
Dr Capolingua said the discounts for designated drivers idea was simple to implement and suggested licensed premises issue wristbands to identify designated drivers to bar staff.
She also emphasised the need for pubs, bars and clubs that offer special conditions for designated drivers to ensure the initiative was properly promoted.
"The next step is letting people know about the rewards," she said.
"Providing a few free soft drinks, or at least at a reduced price, is a great way to care for patrons and thank the driver for caring about their friends."
Australian Medical Association