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Hosting Tips and Mocktails for a Sober, Safe New Year’s Celebration

Help avoid tragedy on as you ring in 2018 with these party tips and “zero proof” drink recipes.
TOPEKA and WICHITA, Kan. –  According to the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) statistics from the 2016-17 New Year’s reporting period (Thur.-Sun., 78 hours) half of the fatality crashes in Kansas were alcohol related. One in five injury crashes involved alcohol.
AAA Kansas is warning of the dangers of drunk and buzzed driving this holiday season and urging revelers, party hosts and drivers to take responsibility and action to avoid alcohol related crashes and fatalities.
“New Year’s Eve celebrations with plenty of alcohol are around the corner, so it’s important to plan ahead to avoid yourself or one of your guests  a tragic holiday statistic due to driving while impaired,” said Jennifer Haugh, AAA Kansas spokesperson.
Tips for Party Hosts
AAA Kansas’ provides the following ABC’s of party hosting to make drunk driving less likely:
A – Alcohol Awareness
Ask your guests to choose a designated driver for the evening. Have a car key collection when your guests arrive. Mix drinks yourself and avoid open bars. Stop serving alcohol 90 minutes before the party is over.
B – Buffet
Always serve high protein foods such as meats and cheeses. They stay in the stomach longer and slow down the rate of intoxication. Starchy foods are great too. Minimize salt. Salt makes people thirsty and speeds up intoxication. Always provide non-alcoholic drinks; soft drinks, juices, punch and delight everyone with the delicious mocktails. Culinary students from Washburn Institute of Technology recently created these mocktails during a competition hosted by AAA Kansas and Washburn Tech. The top three winning “counterfeit cocktail” recipes include Creamy Pumpkin Pie, Wishy Washy and Blueberry-Mint Sparkler.
See the AAA Kansas Mocktails brochure, including the mocktail recipes by visiting here.
C – Carpool
Remember: only TIME will make your guests sober. It takes one hour for the body to process the average drink. 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer and 1.5 ounces of liquor contain about the same amount of alcohol. Keep watch on behavior. Arrange a cab or ride share service (such as Lyft or Uber), ride with a designated driver, or invite intoxicated friends to sleep over. For irate guests, “hide” their keys until they have found another ride home.
Tips for New Year’s Revelers
Preventing drinking and driving is a shared responsibility to save lives. New Year’s Eve party-goers can do their part by heeding the following advice:
  • Always plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver before any party or celebration begins
  • Never get behind the wheel of a car when you’ve been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink
  • Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink
  • Do not hesitate to take the keys from friends or family members who may be impaired
  • Call a taxi or arrange a Lyft or Uber ride for a friend in need
  • If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 911 (or pull over so a safe location to make the call yourself)
  • Remember: Prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs also can impair your ability to drive safely.
“If you have to drink, don’t drive. If you have to drive, don’t drink,” reiterated AAA Kansas’ Haugh. “DUI and the tragic crashes that often result can easily be avoided if everyone is aware of the issue and takes action to make alternatives available, including rides or designated drivers and non-alcoholic beverages.”
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