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4 Ways New Year’s Eve Party Hosts Can Prevent Drunk Driving

DECEMBER 30, 2014

They call it Amateur Night for a reason. Over the New Year’s holiday, bars will be packed, you won’t be able to get a seat at a restaurant and, at least in places like Pittsburgh and Morgantown, you won’t be able to hail a cab to get home if you decide to have too many shots/beers/mojitos while you’re toasting 2015 – even if you wanted to.

So you thought to yourself: I will just have a party here. Easy. No chance I’ll get a DUI!

But did you also think, “My guests will inevitably need to drive here. And they will likely drink some of the 84 alcohol options I will have – so I should probably have a plan so everyone stays safe.”

Yeah. I didn’t think so.

But that’s what your friendly neighborhood DUI attorney is for. If you’re hosting a party this year, here are four ways to make sure your party gusts have fun and stay safe.

  1. Reward the DD. Offer a small gift to your party guests who are serving as designated drivers. I’m not saying you have to offer cash prizes, but some cookies, a bottle of wine for when they get home, or a gift card for gas go a long way. ‘Cause let’s face it. Dealing with drunk people while you’re a sober person isn’t always a piece of proverbial cake.
  2. Have something for people to nosh on. Serious. It sounds simple, but your blood-alcohol content is dependent on a bunch of things, one of which is how much food is in your stomach. Nobody is demanding surf and turf served by waiters with Spanish accents wearing tuxedo and white gloves, but if you’re planning to offer your guests unlimited alcohol, at least get a sandwich ring or some buffalo chicken dip.
  3. Prepare the couches! Anyone who’s ever hosted a party ever knows there is always that one person (or several of those people) who enjoys themselves a little too enthusiastically and is in no way capable of safely driving themselves home. Trust this DUI defense lawyer: Friends shouldn’t let friends drive drunk. While I am happy to help represent clients facing drunk driving charges, the process is an expensive one – with costs that go beyond what you can cover with a check. So if you’re hosting, do your friends a favor, won’t you? Break out the throw blankets, some pillows, and prepare any couches and air mattresses for use. And let people know ahead of time that it’s an option.
  4. Collect keys in advance. Admission to your party should include keys at the door. Not only does it put your houseguests on notice that someone will be monitoring them at the end of the night, but it also gives you the upper hand in case someone who really shouldn’t be driving really wants to anyway. And at the end of the night, stick to your guns. If you don’t think your friend is capable of safe driving, he probably isn’t. Use a BAC chart to gauge how much is too much in the legal sense.

The above list is easy to implement, but I sense that some will resist the idea of “forcing” someone to stay where they don’t want to be.

I can understand that. No one wants to argue, least of all with a drunk (see number 1 above.) Think of it this way: how are you going to feel if you let that falling-down-drunk friend leave your house in his car, and on the way home, he wrecks his car and kills himself or someone else? Will you be sad? What about guilty? You could have prevented the accident by taking his keys.

Honestly, no drunk who gets angry with you for refusing to let him drive is going to remember the next day, anyway, so if he’s mad now, just wait it out. You’ll be best pals again in the morning.

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