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The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration reports that drunk drivers accounted for 32 percent of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States last year. Add to that, the increased number of drunk drivers every year, during peak holiday party seasons – and what holiday shows the largest number of drunken driving fatalities every year? You may think it’s New Year’s Eve but it’s not (it’s #2). The number one culprit for drunken driving fatalities each year is Thanksgiving.
While you may be thinking you’ve got nothing to worry about because you host Thanksgiving every year – you should think again. As the host of an event serving alcohol, you may be held liable for injuries to innocent parties involved in a drunk driving accident with someone leaving your party. Because you provided the alcohol to the driver and had an opportunity to prevent the accident, you may also share the responsibility in the eyes of the law. This potential liability extends to car passengers, hosts at social gatherings and employers throwing holiday parties.
Tips to Keep your Party Guests Safe
Plan Safe
• Provide tasty non-alcoholic drink selections to encourage sobriety and to treat designated drivers.
• Make sure you have everything you need for your party. Mid-party beer runs or a quick dash out for forgotten whip cream could turn into disaster.
• Prepare to get everyone home safely by having your own back-up sober driver available for those who forgot to designate one or whose plans changed.
• Have sleeping accommodations available for those that may need to stay overnight.
• Have taxi phone numbers at hand.
As Guests Arrive
• Designate or ask who the sober drivers will be before your party begins.
• Make sure designated drivers’ vehicles are not blocked by other cars.
• Check that designated drivers have the keys to the vehicle before drinking starts.
During your Party
• Make sure the designated drivers don’t drink.
• Never serve alcohol to anyone under age of 21.
• Stop serving alcohol at least 1 hour before your party is scheduled to end.
• Monitor who is drinking too much and make sure they indeed, have a safe way to get home. Remember, you can always cut them off, too.
• Don’t let anyone leave your party without first saying goodbye to you.
• Ask your designated drivers to call after drop-offs, so that you know everyone arrived home safe.
• Have perks for your designated drivers such as extra goodies, a coffee shop or CD gift card or bottle of wine to take home as a thank you.
• Offer to help guests back to their cars the next day, if necessary.
Follow these tips for a holiday parties and you’ll ensure that everyone has a fun, worry-free and safe holiday season.