December is a month full of celebrations that include alcohol. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are also among the most dangerous days of this celebratory month. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that in 2019, over 28 million US residents—11.2 percent of all residents ages 16 and up—drove under the influence of alcohol or illicit substances at least once.
We all have a role to play in the prevention of impaired driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers community materials for numerous types of impaired driving prevention education and awareness campaigns. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has created a guide for parents to talk with their children about impaired driving.
If you are hosting a party, take care that your guests do not leave your party impaired. New Hampshire has a social host liability law that potentially holds party hosts liable for damages caused by intoxicated people leaving their parties behind the wheel. If you are hosting an event that involves alcohol there are several steps you can take to ensure your guests do not drive impaired. Some suggestions from Elliot Whitter Insurance include:
- Have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks available.
- Place the bar or keg out of the way. Alcohol shouldn’t be the main attraction.
- Use small cups.
- Have food available.
- Avoid salty snacks. Salt makes people drink more.
- Have a ‘key collection point.’ Toward the end of the party, station yourself by the keys. This will force all your guests to check in with you before they leave.
- Stop serving alcohol 1-2 hours before the party ends.
- Do not serve alcohol to people who are already visibly drunk.
- Plan to have people sleep overnight.
- Consider renting a van for the night, and providing a safe ride home for your guests yourself.
- Have a caterer run the bar, and allow people to buy their own drinks, rather than host it yourself. This provides a layer of liability insulation between you and any damage your inebriated guest may cause. You will also have a sober and professional bartender available to politely decline selling the drink and offer a soda instead.
- Consider a ‘dry party.’
December 3rd is National Bartender Day. Bartenders play a pivotal role in the prevention of impaired driving. Many bars and restaurants train their bartenders and staff in responsible service. To learn more about the requirements for bartenders and others in the hospitality industry visit the New Hampshire Division of Liquor Enforcement.
Please keep safe over this holiday season.