Avoid driving under the influence

Celebrations frequently involve entertaining guests or heading out for nights on the town to enjoy the company of others. Often food and beverages are part of the fun, and that includes alcoholic beverages, which may flow a little more readily during festive occasions.


Niznik Behavioral Health says crash fatality rates involving alcohol increase by about five times during holidays. Roughly 131 people die in crashes involving alcohol each holiday, compared to 25 deaths during non-holidays, according to data compiled for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System between 2013 and 2017.


The numbers continue to grow. According to MoneyGeek, driving under the influence-related fatalities were 23 per cent higher in 2021 than in 2016. Among the holidays with the highest rates of DUI, Independence Day and other summer holidays top the list, but impaired driving also is prevalent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.


It’s perfectly alright to have fun in social situations. However, that fun should involve responsible behaviour, particularly when consuming alcohol. Here’s how to enjoy celebrations while also playing it safe.


– Take driving off the table. When planning social occasions, remove the need to drive entirely. Ensure the party location is within walking distance for guests, or at a convenient spot accessible by public transportation. Hosts can encourage guests to utilize taxis or rideshare services so everyone can leave their cars at home.


– Take the emphasis off of alcohol. Plan events that do not necessarily need to be drinking-heavy. Experiential events, such as escape rooms, crafting sessions, culinary demonstrations, and others can shift the focus away from drinking.


– Serve alcohol early. If alcoholic beverages will be served, have a cut-off time when these drinks no longer will be served. This way guests will have a chance to recover and sober up before leaving.


– Provide drink vouchers. Limit how much guests drink by setting a quota. Work with an establishment so that each party-goer only gets a set number of drink tokens or tickets. When they’re used up, then they no longer will be served.


– Make food a priority. Shift the focus from drinks to food. Those who have filled up on plenty of snacks or a big meal may be less likely to over-indulge.


– Change your venue. A gathering at a bar may set the tone that drinking will be prioritized. Look for party venues where drinking may not be allowed, such as church or school party rooms, or not as accessible, such as a BYOB restaurant.


– Always have a sober chaperone. At each event, one or more people should make the pledge to stay sober so they can ensure the safety of guests. This may mean driving them home themselves or arranging for transportation.


Festivities may include alcohol, but hosts and party planners should take steps to reduce the likelihood that guests will drive while under the influence.

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