Dec. 22, 2022 - If you are hosting a New Year’s Eve get-together to watch the Alabama and Kansas State football teams battle in the 89thAnnual Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, be sure your game plan includes a safe ride home for guests who have been drinking.

The game between the 5th-ranked Crimson Tide and 9th-ranked Wildcats in the Caesars Superdome kicks off at 11 a.m., “but that won’t be too early for some people to start drinking,” said Lisa Freeman, Executive Director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. A conscientious host will discreetly ask non-drinking guests to serve as designated drivers to make sure the good times don’t end in tragedy.

“Make sure your designated drivers know they are appreciated,” Freeman said. “They truly are doing a great service for everyone – especially other travelers on the road.”

Last New Year’s Eve, 17 people were killed and 250 people were injured on Louisiana roads in alcohol-related crashes, according to data from the Center for Analytics and Research in Transportation Safety at LSU. These 17 alcohol-related deaths accounted for 100 percent of the fatalities during the New Year’s Eve holiday, and alarmingly, that total surpassed the number of fatalities from each of the four previous New Year's Eve periods.

“The value of a designated driver is immeasurable, and they really are the MVP,” Freeman said.  “Just imagine if we had 17 more designated drivers last year.”

“Alcohol-related crashes are totally avoidable tragedies, and we cannot become complacent about impaired driving and the horrendous impact it has on our communities and families,” she said. That is why we push so hard for people to volunteer to be designated drivers. It is the most positive way we all can influence this public health issue.”

Other ways to help combat impaired driving include:

·      Offering non-alcoholic beverages to guests

·      Calling a taxi or ride service for anyone who has been drinking

·      Contacting law enforcement if you witness a driver you believe may be impaired

·      Making a plan for alternative transportation if you know you will be drinking during a party