In the past, being the designated driver for your friends and family may have felt more like a chore than anything else. In the end, you still do it because the most important thing is that you and your loved ones get home safely.

That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be nice to be rewarded for taking care of others every once in a while and this summer that’s exactly what will happen for all the designated drivers in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch from November 8 to February 4.

Coca-Cola’s Designated Driver programme will be returning this year after a successful launch in 2016 in Auckland and Wellington. Rewarding designated drivers with non-alcoholic drinks from the Coke and Schweppes range, the programme is celebrating the drivers who put safety first this season.

Research from the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) indicates alcohol is the second biggest contributor to road accidents across New Zealand and in the Waikato region it is actually responsible for 27% of all road deaths according to the Ministry of Transport.

While it’s probably no surprise the statistics are so high, the fact remains that when you choose to drink and drive you become twice more likely to have an accident than if you didn’t drink at all.

“We want to encourage people to get out and about this summer with their friends and family, while reinforcing the importance of having a safe ride home,” said Sandhya Pillay, Coca-Cola Oceania Country Manager.

“We want to encourage people to get out and about this summer with their friends and family, while reinforcing the importance of having a safe ride home. The Coca-Cola Designated Driver programme helps to remove the perception that if you don’t have an alcoholic beverage you can’t join in on the fun,” says Sandhya Pillay, Coca-Cola Oceania Country Manager.

This year the programme will once again be supported by Hospitality New Zealand and Auckland Transport with a new endorsement from Waikato Regional Council’s Reduce the Risk safety programme.  

“We’re always looking at ways we can encourage people to make safer journeys and we support this initiative as a fun and engaging way to celebrate people making the right call at the start of the night,” says Monique, Haines Waikato Regional Council Road Safety Coordinator.

All designated drivers need to do to take part is TXT ‘driver’ to 345 to receive three mobile coupons for free non-alcoholic drinks. Over 200 bars and restaurants across the four cities will be participating in the programme which means there will be plenty of options.

For the second year, Coca-Cola are rewarding New Zealand’s Designated Drivers with free non-alcoholic drinks.

Once the driver receives their coupon they simply need to show it to the bartender who will take care of the rest and, while each coupon can only be used once, the service can be used with each new day which means the free drinks can keep coming.

If that isn’t reason enough to participate in this years Designated Driver programme, Coca-Cola ads will also be running on digital outdoor sites naming and praising drivers. So not only will everyone be getting home safely but designated drivers will definitely be getting the recognition they deserve this holiday season.

For a full list of participating bars and restaurants go to coke.co.nz/driver