December 2018 Newsletter: Plan for Safety at Holiday Gatherings

Deck the Halls with Safety

Our Driving Concern Senior Program Manager Lisa Robinson speaks to issues and concerns all employers face when trying to make their workforce safe on the road.

Q: What concerns should employers address if they plan to host holiday gatherings?

A: One is liability as it pertains to serving alcohol. A bartender is liable for serving alcohol to a patron who becomes intoxicated and injures a third party. Likewise, most states have social host statutes or common law customs that hold private event hosts liable for actions of their guests. You are considered a “social host” if you provide alcohol to employees in a non-retail fashion.

We all like to celebrate the holidays and ring in the new year. So, as you plan celebrations, take steps to plan for safety and sobriety, too.

  • Offer a range of low-alcohol and alcohol-free drinks
  • Serve drinks to guests rather than offering a self-serve bar
  • Do not pay for alcoholic drinks; guests will drink less if required to foot the bill themselves
  • Provide transportation to and from events, appoint designated drivers or encourage guests to use ride-share services if they consume alcohol

Read/share Know Safety, No Crashes blog post: Best Holiday Parties Include a Party Favor That Plans Ahead for Safe Rides.

Alcohol can impact thinking, reasoning and muscle coordination. All of these functions are essential to safely operating a vehicle. Alcohol consumed in combination with medications or illegal drugs can elevate driving risks and ultimately lead to more crashes.

And it’s not just the driver who is at risk. Your co-workers, your friends and family members often are the victims in crashes that are preventable. In 2016, crashes involving DUI (alcohol) resulted in the following fatalities, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office:

  • 150 drivers
  • 29 passengers
  • 10 pedestrians

Of the 179 vehicle-occupant fatalities in alcohol-related crashes, 51.4% were occupants of passenger vehicles, 30.2% were occupants of pickup trucks and 16.2% were motorcyclists.

Planning for safety will not eliminate the risks, but it will help reduce liability and let your employees know you care about their health and well-being. Happy holidays!

Submit Your Winning Entry

At Our Driving Concern, we believe safety should be celebrated. So, for the first time, the National Safety Council and Our Driving Concern will honor Oklahoma employers through a traffic safety awards recognition program.

In 2019, traffic safety awards will be presented to Oklahoma organizations that encourage positive driver behaviors among employees on and off the job. The goal is to change driver behaviors and decrease traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities.

Any Oklahoma organization is eligible to submit an application – big or small, private or not-for-profit. Judging is based on education and outreach efforts that focus on transportation safety. Winners will be announced at the Oklahoma Safety & Health Conference.

Submit your application through this link. The deadline is Friday, March 29.