Curbing the Number of Drunk Drivers on Texas Roads for New Year’s Eve

by Terry Bryant

In just a few days, people across Texas will be out in force, celebrating the coming year. As is typical of New Year’s Eve celebrations, many will involve alcohol. With the drunk driving problem that Texas has—in 2017 there were more than 1,000 people killed and thousands more injured in DUI crashes, according to the Texas Department of Transportation—it’s a good time to talk about how to reduce the number of drunks behind the wheel and make the roads safer on the holiday.

Going to a Party or Bar

For celebrants going to bars, parties, restaurants, or elsewhere where they will be drinking, make a plan ahead of time for how you will get home. Don’t wait until your second or third drink to think about it. Designate a non-drinking driver. If that isn’t possible, plan to take a cab, rideshare vehicle, or public transportation home. Visit the TxDOT’s soberrides.org website to see transportation options in your area for New Year’s Eve.

You can also ask another party guest who is sober to drop you off, or contact a family member or friend who hasn’t been drinking to pick you up. If you and your fellow celebrants have the resources, consider going out in style by hiring a limo to drive you around and drop you safely home. Depending on distance, another option is simply to walk home.

Bargoers can look for hotels within walking distance that may have vacancies. If you are celebrating at someone’s home, ask the host about the possibility of sleeping over—many people would be happy to have a guest sleep over rather than leave their home and get behind the wheel drunk.

Hosting a Party

Here are some suggestions for ways party hosts can curb drunk driving:

  • Take the focus off of alcohol by planning games and other activities that guests can participate in. NO drinking games, please!
  • Offer guests non-alcoholic beverages as alternatives.
  • Serve plenty of food (except for salty snacks, which may make people drink more). When people have a full stomach, alcohol takes longer to enter the bloodstream.
  • Have a designated time when the party will end, and stop serving drinks well ahead of that time.
  • Help guests arrange for transportation home if they haven’t done it themselves. Keep contact information for different ride services on hand. Or ask a sober guest to drive an inebriated person home.
  • Encourage guests who shouldn’t get behind the wheel to stay over.
  • If a drunk guest insists on driving home, taking their keys away if you can is the right thing to do. You can also require that guests hand over their keys when they arrive at the party, so you can screen them as they leave.
  • Don’t pour another drink for someone who is drunk, and never push alcohol on anyone. Consider hiring a professional bartender to run the bar—this person can then be the “bad guy” who refuses to pour an inebriated person another drink.

People who drive drunk endanger their own lives and the lives of others. And if they are fortunate enough not to cause an accident, there is still the very real possibility of their being arrested. The police will be out in force on New Year’s Eve, so if you are planning to drink, be sure to plan how you will get home without getting in the driver’s seat.

If you or a family member has been injured because of a drunk driver, the experienced attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law are here to help. Call us at 1 (800) 444-5000 or contact us through our online form.