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Get the Keys:

How You Can Intervene

The Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Advertising Council's Innocent Victims public service campaign emphasize the need to intervene and Get the Keys away from someone about to drive after drinking alcohol. But sometimes this is easier said than done. Below are some helpful tips and advice from focus group research on how people can Get the Keys away from a drinker.

  • If they are a close friend, use a soft, calm approach at first. Suggest that they've had too much to drink and it would be better if someone else drove or if they took a cab.
  • Be calm. Joke about it. Make light of it.
  • Make them understand that you are doing them a favor.

  • If it's somebody you don't know well, speak to their friends and have them make an attempt to persuade them to hand over the keys. Usually they will listen.

  • If it's your driver, tell them that if they insist on driving, you are not going with them. Tell them you will call someone else for a ride, take a cab, or walk.

  • Locate their keys while they are preoccupied and take them away. Most likely, they will think they've lost them and will be forced to find another mode of transportation.
  • If possible, avoid embarrassing the person or being confrontational, particularly when dealing with men.

And Bob suggests the following, if it is your party:

  • Motivate yourself, if necessary, by remembering the civil liability you would be assuming by serving alcohol without controlling those who consume it.

*Collect your guests' car keys as they arrive.

*Determine who the designated drivers are.

*Assure as your guests leave that only those who drank NO alcohol intend to drive.

*Or, have a party without serving alcohol. Zero alcohol - zero liability.

  • If the soft, calm approach doesn't work, try the loud, controlling approach. Do what works!

Do not...

..think that the type of food you serve can make a drinker a safe driver.

...think that you can stop serving alcohol early enough to allow sufficient time for your guests to metabolize the alcohol you have served.

...convince yourself that "nothing will happen" just because it hasn't happened to that person before. It has happened to others.

...be more concerned about what your guests think of you than you are for their safety.

...forget to show proper respect for your designated drivers.

...apologize for doing what is right. Expect that your guests will respect your wishes.