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Tips to keep you and your guests safe tonight after the game

Parties can be a great way for football lovers to get together and enjoy friends, food, and drinks during the big game, but it is also a day where drunk driving crashes increase. Party hosts can actually help prevent this and keep their guests safe on this busy night.

Other than New Year’s, DUI offenders after the game tonight have, on average, the second or third highest blood alcohol content, and this day has also been the worst for DUI- related deaths.

Jim Pollard with American Medical Response and Mike Cashion with the Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association, said today is one of the biggest days of the year for drinking beer and liquor.

“Parties often start hours prior to kick-off and last beyond the end of the game,” said Pollard. “Those facts can be a recipe for disaster.”

Bartenders and wait staff in restaurants all over Mississippi have been trained on serving alcohol responsibly, so party hosts need to know how to keep their guests safe from drunk driving. AMR has provided tips on how to do that.

  • Never invite guests by saying your group plans to drink a great deal.
  • Limit your own alcohol intake so you can determine whether guests are fit to drive and take steps to stop impaired guests from driving.
  • As guests arrive, identify the designated drivers. Remember the designated drivers and make sure they drink zero alcohol. Reward designated drivers with a great spot in front of the TV or a first pass at the buffet. Non-drivers must hand their keys to the designated drivers.
  • If a guest comes alone and is known to drink alcohol, determine at the start of the party who will take him or her home.
  • Do not pressure guests to drink. There’s a big difference between “Would you like something to drink?” compared to “Come on, have a drink!”
  • Provide a bartender so guests don’t over-serve themselves. Limit servings of alcohol by keeping glasses filled with ice. Don’t rush to refill guests’ glasses with alcohol.
  • Put non-alcoholic drinks in the same place as the alcohol, displayed just as prominently.
  • Serve lots of food. Include water and juice plus “mocktails.” Mocktails are mixed drinks without alcohol in them. A “virgin” Bloody Mary looks and tastes much like the real thing. Visit www.allrecipes.com has dozens of mocktail recipes.
  • Serve all beverages in the same size and shape glass. That way, those who aren’t drinking alcohol won’t feel or look different.
  • Do not allow drinking contests. Ask your guests who are drinking to pace themselves, eat plenty of food and alternate alcohol with non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Never serve alcohol to anyone less than 21 years of age. It’s illegal and has big penalties.
  • If someone shows up drunk or gets drunk, tell the guest he or she has drunk too much and alcohol is off limits. Take the guest aside and offer a place to sleep it off. If another guest is a close friend of the intoxicated person, ask that other guest to help.
  • Prevent falls by clearing walkways and stairs and by providing adequate lighting. WUI (walking under the influence) can also lead to serious injury.
  • Follow the example of numerous NFL stadiums and stop serving alcohol when the second half starts. Begin serving coffee and dessert. Remember, coffee does not restore sobriety.
  • Never let anyone drive who has drunk any alcohol at all, no matter how little. Take the keys. Call a cab. Encourage the guests to stay overnight. Don’t let drunk guests out of your sight.
  • As guests leave, help the designated drivers buckle up every passenger. Buckling up protects occupants from other drivers who may be intoxicated.

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