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What Can Be Done to Decrease or Eliminate Impaired Driving Over the Holidays?

December 24, 2014 | Category: DUI Accidents | Share

The United States National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has been studying traffic-related deaths involving drunk drivers during the Christmas and New Year's time period for the last ten years. In this time period, 40 percent of the traffic-related deaths are the result of drunk driving.  On average, the number of deaths during the Christmas period has been 45 deaths per day while during the New Year's holiday period it increases to 54 per day. What can be done to substantially decrease, or eliminate, these impaired-driving statistics?

Research conducted over the last year by NIAAA shows that there are over 17 million Americans with drinking problems. Only one in ten, with a drinking problem, seeks professional help by entering into a rehab, or a 12-step, Alcoholics Anonymous, program, or seeks help from medical professionals who now have an array of different prescription medicines which can help them.  The Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2014, carried a front-page article in the Personal Journal Section titled, "Prescription to end drinking - data on medicine for alcohol disorders pushes doctors beyond the 12-step program." Not only does this article report on the new medicines, it also provides questions from the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the answers to which, will help people determine whether they have an alcohol-use disorder. These questions include:

  • Experience craving - the strong need, or urge, to drink?
  • Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want?
  • Found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?

The full list of these questions will be found at APA.

NIAAA research conducted during 2013 shows that about 30 percent of the 17 million Americans with drinking problems exceed the daily limits for safe drinking. A disturbing finding is that a significant number (26 percent) consistently exceed the limits on a monthly basis, and do not outwardly show any signs of being impaired.

Hurt By Drunk Driver Attorney, Randall Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. says, "To be a responsible host at a New Year's Eve party, or any party, requires being aware of what guests are drinking, and how much they are drinking, as it may not be possible to determine whether guests are leaving the party impaired. Waiting until the end of the party to determine alcohol impairment, which may not show, is a dangerous practice. It can put impaired drivers on the road."

Driving accidents increase when there are more vehicles on the roads. This includes rush hour. Yet, during this holiday period, it may be a time that people stop to celebrate with a drink before getting on the road. This is why bartenders and other hospitality industry staff members who serve alcohol need to stop serving those who may be drinking too much. In Florida the hospitality industry is not held as accountable as it is in other states, such as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Since this is the situation, what we can do, at this time, is learn how to become responsible party hosts.

Party with alcohol - Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.Being responsible party hosts, not only includes monitoring the alcoholic beverages being served, but also includes making sure that the food which is served does not contain alcohol. Reporter Doris Reynolds of The Naples Daily News discusses this in more detail in her column of December 17, 2014 - Let's Talk Food where she explains the situation in more detail and provides information about books, including the one published by Dial Publishing "Beverage: Safe Party Planning", which is sold to raise funds for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). She also reports on a useful student guide developed by the culinary school, Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI and north Miami titled "Practicing Alcohol Responsibility to Yourself".

A lot of traditional food, including some fruitcakes, is served over Christmas and New Year's call for alcohol and create hazards to those with drinking problems. Safe party planning indicates that it is partially a myth that food containing alcohol all burns off in the cooking.

Responsible party hosts have a "hosted", instead of "self pouring", bar, and responsible party hosts do not serve food where the alcohol is an ingredient.

Become a responsible party host and help decrease or eliminate impaired driving.


Hurt By Drunk Driver Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys.  He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida.  For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to  Visit for more information.  You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.

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