More than ever, municipalities are cracking down on drunk drivers.
The legal alcohol intake limit in most states is .08 BAC, or Breath Alcohol Concentration, sometimes called Blood Alcohol Content. Statistics on drunk driving show that 41% of all traffic fatalities related to alcohol usage happen at a mere .15 BAC- so it’s easy to go from legally sober to dangerously drunk – the difference can be about three beers, two “shots,” or three glasses of wine, depending on your tolerance, body weight, or if you are drinking on a full stomach.
There is as much alcohol in one ounce of hard alcohol (whisky, rum, etc.) as there is in a 12 ounce beer or a 6 ounce glass of wine. On average it takes about one hour after ingestion for the alcohol from one drink to work its way through the body.
How to Host a Safe Party
So how do you throw a safe and fun party without adding to the drunk driving statistics? Here are some tips to help you arrive safely in the New Year, have a memorable birthday, or other party such as St. Patrick’s Day.
* Obviously the easiest way is to not serve alcohol at all. There are some great tasting pseudo alcoholic beers on the market, and sparkling cider, alcohol-free wine and “mocktails” are other alternatives.
* If you choose to serve alcohol, stop serving it at least two hours prior to the end of the party.
* Always provide snacks to keep guests from drinking on an empty stomach. Not nuts or salty chips! They make people want to drink more. Try a fruit or veggie tray instead, and finger sandwiches are good as snacks too.
* Hire professional bar tenders who have had server training to prevent over-serving and serving guests under the legal drinking age or serve the alcohol yourself and don’t drink. A drunken person in charge of monitoring other people’s intake is never a good idea.
* Only allow X number of drinks per person and keep track of how much each person is served.
* Don’t rely on physical appearance alone to determine if a guest has had too much to drink. Some people have a higher tolerance to alcohol and don’t show outward signs of intoxication. One drink can impair a person’s ability to drive safely.
* Confiscate car keys as your guests arrive, and give them only to designated drivers, or make the car owners pass a breathalyzer test if available. Some alternatives are to call a cab, plan ahead by hiring a shuttle or limousine service, or offer to drive intoxicated guests home yourself if you haven’t consumed any alcohol. Take it seriously, and don’t let intoxicated guests talk you into giving them their keys.
And don’t just give them some coffee and hope for the best. It is a myth that coffee or cold showers will help someone sober up. Only time will do it.
If you are in charge of throwing the company party, consider having it at a hotel and reserving some rooms so guests won’t have to drive home.
If you plan ahead, you can have a fun party without making your friends become drunk driving statistics.
It’s easy to think that it only happens to others and not to you, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3 out of 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related accident at some point in their lives.
Considering that over 17,000 people in the US were killed in alcohol-related crashes every year for over twenty years, you may already know someone whose life has been devastated by careless alcohol use.