Designated drivers and responsible hosting are strategies Albertans can use to make sure people arrive home safely.

Designated drivers

Be a designated driver

One easy way for you and your friends to keep each other safe is to have a designated driver (DD). A DD is someone who stays sober (that is, does not consume alcohol or drugs). Here are some tips for making it work:

  • Decide in advance who will be the DD so everyone is ready. It can be more difficult for the DD if you 'pull straws' or choose at the event, since they may have been expecting to consume.
  • Consider the size of your group. Do you need more than one DD to get everyone to and from home safely?
  • Make sure your DD does not have conditions on their licence that will prevent them from being the DD. Remember, drivers with a Class 7 Learner's Licence are not allowed to drive from midnight to 5 am.
  • The DD should make it clear to everyone how long they are willing to stay out, and everyone should respect that timeline.
  • At private events, make sure there are non-alcoholic drinks available for the DD. The DD may want to bring their own favourite non-alcoholic drink.

Find a designated driver

If your group has not identified a DD, or if the DD unexpectedly had to leave or chose to consume, you can still find a safe way home for everyone. You can call a taxi or a ride share service. There are also for-hire designated driving services. These services operate much like a taxi or ride share, but they drive you home in your own vehicle. Learn more about designated driver services.

Responsible hosting

It is up to you to make sure your guests get home safely. Here is how to plan in advance.

Set the stage

Let your guests know that no one drives away from your party under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

  • Include a time limit on your party invitation.
  • Ask guests to leave their keys at the door. Do not return the keys unless you feel it is safe to do so.
  • Instead of having guests help themselves to alcohol, serve drinks yourself or have a bartender.
  • Plan ahead to designate a driver who will stay sober and drive drinking guests to and from home.
  • Look up a local taxi or ride share so you are prepared in advance to get your guests home safely.

Think about food and drinks

  • Serve snacks at your party. High-protein foods stay in the stomach longer and slow the absorption of alcohol.
  • Carbonated mixers like pop speed the absorption of alcohol. Opt for a fizz-less mix instead.
  • Guests are less likely to overdrink if they can keep track of the amount they have consumed. Keep a note pad near where drinks are being mixed and make sure to measure each drink. Standard alcoholic beverages are 1 oz. of alcohol to a minimum of 6 oz. of mix.
  • Short-pouring a drink will not affect the taste, but will reduce the amount of alcohol your guests have at the party. Instead of 1 oz. of alcohol, pour a 1/2 oz. into a mixed drink instead.

What if a guest is impaired

If you have any doubt about whether a guest is impaired, do not let them drive. Help them find a safe ride home or offer them a place to stay instead. Remember, as the host you may be held legally or civilly liable for damages caused by an impaired driver who drank too much at your party.

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