According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), several states have passed Dram Shop Liability laws, which make it possible to hold anyone who serves alcohol to an intoxicated or underage person responsible for damage or injury caused by these same individuals. Those who serve the alcohol may be sued, and could also be subject to criminal charges. The III also noted that if you are throwing a party where alcohol is served, you have a responsibility to make sure that your guests are capable of driving safely. You don't want to allow anyone who has been drinking to drive home and possibly kill or injure themselves or others on the road. 1
Thefore, if you host a holiday party, keep these tips from III in mind:
Encourage guests to pick a designated driver who will refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages so that he or she can drive other guests home.
• Consider hiring a professional bartender. Most bartenders are trained to recognize signs of intoxication and will limit consumption by partygoers.
• Be a responsible host and or hostess. Limit your own alcohol intake so that you will be better able to judge a person's sobriety.
• Offer non-alcoholic beverages and always serve food. It is proven that food can help counter the effects of alcohol.
• Do not pressure guests to drink or rush to refill their glasses when empty. And never serve guests who are visibly intoxicated.
• Stop serving liquor toward the end of the evening and switch to coffee, tea and soft drinks.
• If guests drink too much or seem too tired to drive home, call a cab, arrange a ride with a sober guest or have them sleep at your home.
• Encourage all your guests to wear seatbelts as they drive home. Studies show that seatbelts save lives.
1 Source: NU Online News Service, Dec. 21