Preventing Drunk Driving: The Importance of Responsible Service

Here’s a sobering statistic: every single day, an estimated 32 Americans die in a drunk-driving-related crash. That’s one death every 45 minutes. 

When working in the service industry, it’s your responsibility to adhere to strict guidelines for alcohol safety. For example, there are signs of intoxication to look out for, as this can help you determine when to “cut off” your customers and stop serving them alcoholic beverages. 

This article explains how to prevent drunk driving so you keep your patrons —and others— safe while on the road. 

Signs of Intoxication

Part of the liability for serving alcohol comes from identifying the signs of intoxication. Although you should invest in crucial RBS training, you also need to know what to look for.

Let’s take a look at physical appearance and behaviors to watch out for. 

Physical Appearance

An intoxicated patron may have glassy, watery eyes. Their eyes may also be bloodshot or their eyelids may be droopy. You may notice a blank stare on their face or a dazed, confused appearance. 

It’s common for intoxication to cause a flushed appearance or body twitching and tremors. 

When someone is intoxicated, they may have disheveled, messy clothing. You may notice that an intoxicated patron stumbles, sways, or staggers.

They may struggle to sit up straight and may be restless. 

Behavior and Attitude

When patrons are intoxicated, they may act overly entertaining and animated, making crude gestures or saying inappropriate things. They may also be drowsy, fall asleep, or fail to make eye contact or focus. You may also notice they struggle to stand or walk unusually.   

You may notice slurred, thick speech. You may also hear them speak loudly and softly and have a disorganized, rambling train of thought with an unusually fast or slow manner of speaking. 

When someone is intoxicated, it’s also common for them to take a while to answer questions, and their responses may be repetitive. They may even make braggy, irrational comments. You may also find that intoxicated patrons bother other customers or employees, becoming argumentative, belligerent, or aggressive.

They may be sullen, withdrawn, or depressed. They may even be moody or cry, with sudden behavioral changes.

It’s also common for someone intoxicated to become mean, obnoxious, or sexually inappropriate. They may also be overly friendly with employees and other guests. 

As they drink, you might notice that an intoxicated patron struggles to find the glass with their mouth. They may also fall off their chair or fall down when walking. You may notice difficulty lighting a cigarette or a clumsy appearance. 

They might also have trouble remembering, frequently spill drinks, and appear to be disoriented. When someone is intoxicated, they also act in an anxious, agitated manner.

You may notice them grinding their teeth or see them vomit and make continuous trips outside or to the restroom. They may also perspire excessively.

If you notice any of these signs of intoxication, it’s your responsibility to stop serving that person alcohol to prevent drinking and driving. 

How to Slow Service

As you learn to slow the number of drinks you serve, you may wonder how to gather this valuable information. You may also wonder, “What is RBS training?”.

RBS training helps servers and bartenders exercise caution when serving drinks while understanding the signs of intoxication. It promotes a safe atmosphere for guests and works to prevent drunk driving.

Now that you understand the importance of responsible service, there are ways you can prevent drunk driving. Let’s take a look. 

Counting Drinks for Guests

One thing you can do is count how many drinks your patron has ordered. As they consume more alcoholic beverages, their blood alcohol content rises. A person’s specific size determines how fast their BAC will rise. 

If you’re unsure, you could use a BAC table to help gauge a person’s blood alcohol content, keeping in mind how many drinks they’re consumed. As a rule of thumb, service should be slowed prior to a person’s BAC reaching 0.08%. If a patron is already intoxicated, don’t serve them additional alcohol. 

The liver requires about an hour to metabolize alcohol in one drink. Anyone consuming numerous drinks within an hour will need several hours for their liver to metabolize those drinks. 

RBS training can help you identify the best ways to prevent patrons from consuming too many alcoholic drinks. 

Offering Water for Customers

It’s a great idea to offer customers water and food, as this slows down service. Food can work to absorb some of the alcohol your patrons have already consumed, so be sure to offer your customers something to eat while working to keep their BAC at a reasonable level. 

If you’re unsure of how to offer your customers a glass of water, you can always serve it complimentary with an alcoholic beverage. This appears as courteous but also works to slow down alcohol service, subtly. 

A common misconception is that coffee lower’s a person’s BAC.

Visit the Table Less Often

When you visit a patron’s table less often, they’ll have fewer opportunities to order alcoholic drinks. You can keep an eye out for guests who require your services, but if you pass by the table less often, you won’t be continually available to take orders and serve alcoholic beverages

It’s also important not to push drinks, meaning you shouldn’t encourage customers to order more. Serving alcohol responsibly means allowing guests to have a good time without the need for constant alcoholic beverages. As a server or bartender it is a good practice to divert their attention from ordering additional drinks. 

How to Prevent Drunk Driving

Now that you know how to prevent drunk driving, you can take all the necessary precautions to keep your patrons from becoming intoxicated. Be sure to follow the guidelines in this article to understand the signs of intoxication and to prevent yourself from overserving a guest. 

Enroll in RBS Training today. Our courses are state-approved and work to ensure the safe distribution of alcoholic beverages, keeping guests and community members safe.