You Can Help Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents

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Drunk Driving Accidents

Nearly 18,000 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in the last year -- an average of one every half hour.

And, upcoming holidays like the 4th of July and Labor Day are some of the most dangerous days on the road, in part, because of people who had one too many drinks at parties hosted by family or friends.

In an instant, what is meant to be a cheerful event can turn to tragedy.

With that reality in mind, The Hanover Insurance Group offers tips to help hosts responsibly plan and hold parties, so their guests and others get home safely and they can avoid potential personal liability.

"Too many people lose their lives every year because of drunk driving, an easily preventable act," said Jim Hyatt, president of The Hanover's personal lines business. "While many people spend days and even weeks planning the perfect party, they don't give a second thought to how their guests will arrive safely home and what action they will take if someone drinks too much and wants to drive."

"While it may seem awkward asking a guest not to drive while intoxicated, it could save lives, and at the same time, spare you possible legal responsibility for your guest's actions should he or she get in an auto accident," Hyatt said.

To help reduce the risk your guests will be involved in alcohol-related accidents, The Hanover recommends that hosts take the following important steps:

Planning the Party:

-- Let your guests know ahead of time how you feel about drinking and driving, and their need to be responsible about their alcohol consumption

-- As guests RSVP, confirm each groups' non-drinking designated driver

-- Plan activities to engage your guests, to take the focus away from drinking

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-- Provide plenty of high-protein foods, like cheese and meats, to help slow the absorption of alcohol and keep guests from drinking on an empty stomach. Keep in mind, however, that food does not affect the pace alcohol leaves someone's system

-- Avoid salty snacks, like potato chips, that can cause thirsty guests to drink more

-- Plan to offer unique, non-alcoholic beverages, or "mocktails," with clever names for designated drivers and others who prefer not to drink alcohol (see example below)

-- If preparing an alcoholic punch, use a fruit juice instead of a carbonated base, which can speed the absorption of alcohol into the blood stream

-- Have the number of a taxi service on hand for anyone who may need a ride, or plan to drive any intoxicated partygoers home

Party Time:

-- Have fun. Remember you are responsible for the safety of your guests, and in some cases, their actions when they leave your party. Good hosts stay in control and don't drink too much in order to make sure guests do the same

-- Never serve alcohol to someone under the legal drinking age and keep alcohol in a central, visible place, where teen drivers can't "sneak" a drink

-- Never ask children to serve alcohol at parties

-- Don't let guests mix their own drinks. Use a reliable "bartender" who can track the size and number of drinks each guest consumes

-- If a guest is drinking too much, stop serving them and offer them a non-alcoholic beverage

-- Close the bar 90 minutes before the end of the party; use the rest of the party to serve coffee and dessert

-- If guests drink too much, don't let them drive: Drive them home yourself, (leaving another sober guest to fill-in as host while you are gone). Arrange for another guest or a taxi to take guests home, or invite them to stay over.

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