CLEVELAND -- Having a good time this holiday season doesn't mean you have to put yourself and others in jeopardy.
There are plenty of easy ways to get your party on without drinking.
According to the Greater Cleveland Safe Communities Coalition and the OVI Task Force:
- During Christmas and New Year's 40% of all traffic deaths involve alcohol
- In just the few days surrounding those two holidays and average of 304 people die in drunk-driving crashes, according to the US Dept. of Transportation
- Each year more than 10,000 people die on the road due to drunk driving – the equivalent of 20 jumbo jet crashes
- In December, an average of 27 people per day die in drunk driving crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- Nearly 2/3 of fatal crashes that occur between midnight and 3 am involve drunk drivers
- According to a recent Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) survey, 73% of adults say they have been to an event where they have seen someone try to drive home after drinking too much
- While many intervened by driving the person home or taking their keys, 19% said they did nothing
- Locally, there will be an increased police presence looking for people who are driving under the influence, including DUI checkpoints
And if you're hosting a holiday party, you can be considerate of your guests by doing a few extra things to make sure your designated drivers don't feel left out and your friends and family get home safely.
Local officials say these easy tips can help make you a better host:
- As guests RSVP, confirm that at least one person in each group is prepared to be the non-drinking designated driver.
- Provide plenty of food to keep your guests from drinking on an empty stomach.
- Avoid too many salty snacks, which tend to make people thirsty and drink more.
- Offer non-alcoholic beverages or mocktails for designated drivers and others who prefer not to drink alcohol.
- If preparing an alcoholic punch, use a non-carbonated base, like fruit juice. Alcohol is absorbed into the blood stream faster with a carbonated base.
- Be prepared by having the number of a taxi service on hand for those who need a ride. Also, be ready with some clean linens so you can turn your sofa into a hotel for guests who need to sleep it off.
A few local law enforcement agencies were kind enough to share some of their favorite mocktail recipes with all of us.
"Trooper Shine" by the Ohio State Highway Patrol
- 2 liters ginger ale
- 1/2 cup cinnamon fire balls
- 3 seeded habañero peppers
- Slice of ginger root
- Splash of Sprite
Mix all ingredients together. Steep 30 minutes, strain and serve.
"Simple, Sweet & Can't Be Beat" by the Broadview Heights Police Department
- 2 liters 7-Up
- 4 cups white grape juice
- 2 cups white cranberry strawberry juice
- 2 cups club soda
- Ice cubes (plain or made from additional juice)
Pour everything into a punch bowl and serve.
"Trailhead - Hand Crafted Root Beer Float" by Cleveland Metroparks Rangers Department.
- 12 oz. Fat Heads root beer
- 1 scoop Mitchell's ice cream
- Vanilla bean
- Vanilla wafer sticks
Fill glass 3/4 full with root beer, slowly add scoop of ice cream. Drizzle root beer on top when glass is full. Garnish with vanilla bean and wafer stick.
"Grandma's Secret Swamp Tea" by Maple Heights Police Department
- 14 tea bags
- 2 cans frozen lemonade
Steep tea bags for 30 minutes. Add lemonade and sugar.