The new year is almost here and many Mississippians will be hosting friends and family to ring in the new year. However, Paramedics with American Medical Response are urging safety as the New Year’s holiday is one of the most dangerous for people getting hurt or killed in a drunk driving crash.
Jim Pollard, AMR public affairs officer, has given a list of tips and suggestions for party hosts to avoid DUIs and to ensure everyone gets home safely.
“Party hosts, bartenders, and servers have a legal and moral responsibility to help keep drunk drivers off the road,” Pollard said. “If a guest has a DUI crash, the host may face an expensive lawsuit, not to mention the lifelong emotional pain resulting from the crash. By keeping drunk drivers off the road you’ll possibly save a guest’s life and the lives of others. Of course, the party least likely to produce a DUI tragedy is one where no alcohol is served.”
- Never invite guests by noting you’ll have lots of alcohol available.
- Limit your own alcohol intake so you can determine whether guests are fit to drive and then take steps to stop impaired guests from driving.
- As soon as a group of guests arrive, ask who is serving as the designated driver. Remember who the designated drivers are and don’t offer them alcohol. The designated driver is not the one in a group who has drunk the least alcohol, but the one who drinks no alcohol at all. Give designated drivers a reward such as the first pass at the buffet table. Ask non-drivers to hand their keys to their designated driver.
- 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 asking, “Would you like something to drink?” compared to insisting, “Come on, have another shot!”
- 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.
- Non-alcoholic beverages should be displayed in the same place as the alcohol and featured just as prominently.
- Serve lots of food. Include soft drinks, water, and juice plus tempting “mocktails.” Mocktails are mixed drinks without alcohol in them. For example, a “virgin” Bloody Mary looks just like the real thing and tastes very much like one, too. To learn how to make a variety of mocktails, search online for “mocktail recipes.” Better Homes and Gardens’ website has an article, “Our Best 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 under 21 years of age.
- 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 providing adequate lighting. WUI (walking under the influence) can also lead to serious injury.
- Stop serving alcohol at least an hour before the party is set to end and begin serving coffee and dessert. But remember, coffee does not restore sobriety.
Pollard says they hope everyone has a safe and fun New Year’s Eve.