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Eat, drink, and be merry! Those are wonderful words to live by, especially during the upcoming holidays.  As we all know, however, there are dangers associated with drinking and driving.  Despite these dangers, people may choose to drink and drive when leaving a party at your home.  You, as the host, could be held liable for injuries and deaths to innocent persons, if something were to happen.  Though you may have coverage under your own personal auto or homeowner’s policy, it is best to be proactive, rather than reactive in a situation like this.  Keep these tips in mind when planning a holiday gathering at your home where if alcohol is being served:

  • You may want to consider limiting the amount of alcohol at your event.  The less there is to consume, the less will be consumed.
  • If alcohol is served at your party, make sure that there is plenty of food. The consumption of food slows down the absorption of alcohol.
  • Encourage designated drivers and provide nonalcoholic drinks for these guests.  Make water available to all guests at all times.
  • Look for signs of intoxication, though don’t solely rely on these signs. An intoxicated person often has trouble walking, has slurred or loud speech, or is atypically uninhibited. Be aware, that there is no sure “tell” to know if someone is intoxicated.  Some people have no visible signs of being inebriated, though they are.
  • Don’t serve near-intoxicated or intoxicated partygoers.
  • Consider hiring trained bartenders, especially if you are having a larger function. Many have been trained to recognize and deal with guests who may need something nonalcoholic to drink.
  • Do not allow the intoxicated guest to drive home from the event.  When planning the party, plan how guests will get home.  Take keys, find people to share rides and the driving responsibility, or schedule cabs ahead of time.  Alternately, some guests may just need to spend the night at your home in order to stay safe.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),  in 2015 10,265 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (29%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.

In 2014, a total of 1,070 children 14 and younger were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes.  Of those fatalities, 209 children (19%) died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.

In Montana, driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is defined as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of: 0.08% or more.  The level is 0.02% or more, if you are younger than 21 years old, and 0.04%, if you are driving a commercial vehicle.

Make sure you enjoy the holiday season while staying safe at the same time.