designated driver training for alcohol servers
The goal for a successful night is to have guests come to an establishment, enjoy themselves, get home safely, and create a profitable business. However, it is not a perfect world. Guests who consumed alcohol at a prior establishment can reach the point of intoxication by having just one drink after entering a new establishment.
If they arrive drunk, they assuredly will leave drunk. Guests may also become intoxicated quickly by mixing alcohol with legal, over-the-counter drugs.
We all know, what a pain. Make money then deal with the consequences.
Priority must be given to prevent intoxicated guests leaving liquor serving establishments intoxicated. Remember, you are liable if that guest becomes a drunk driver and, heaven forbid, causes a fatal crash.
The first line of defense begins before guests ever leave your establishment. For example, a serve can ask a group of patrons if there is a designated driver. If the group answers in the affirmative, it is a good practice for a server to document that the designated driver was visibly sober and able to operate a motor vehicle.
If a server or manager has to confront an intoxicated patron, they have the obligation to prevent and persuade the customer not to drive and use alternative transportation. A good part of verbal judo is to tell them,
“Sir, I am sorry I cannot serve you, but I will be happy to call you a cab or someone to pick you up. But if you decide to leave and get in your car to drive home, you leave me no choice but to call the police. What would you like me to do?”
This sucks, but it’s your ass if something goes wrong.
What can the alcoholic beverage industry do besides preventing over service? There are over 13,000 alcohol-related traffic deaths in the United States every year. 40 to 60 percent of these deaths are caused by patrons leaving liquor-serving establishments. A designated driver or cab program can ensure safe customer transport home, and prevent a business from facing lawsuits or worse: Getting their business shut down.
Usually, establishments or local police departments will work out arrangements with cab companies to get intoxicated customers home safely. It is vital for cities to have adequate transportation with enough cabs, and public transportation. This will reduce the risk of impaired drivers causing incidents in communities.
Additionally, some hotels or banquet halls provide bus service to take guests to their hotel; many also encourage those too impaired to drive to leave their car at the establishment and pick up their car the next day. Simply put, a designated driver program can and does save lives.