Thursday, December 22, 2016

Happy Holidays from the SAFE Coalition Staff!

How Are You Getting Home this New Year’s Eve? The SAFE Coalition Urges Drivers: Make a Sober Plan.

Drunk driving has become a national epidemic. Each year, drunk-driving crashes kill more than 10,000 people in America. The SAFE Coalition is working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) this holiday season, to reach out to all drivers with an important message about this deadly, preventable crime because Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

Let’s say you go to a New Year’s party, you stay a few hours and have a few drinks. When it’s time to go, you think to yourself, “I’m fine to drive. I’ve only had a few drinks, and I barely feel buzzed.” You get in your car and drive toward home.  This act places you at risk of facing the consequences of drunk driving.  Buzzed driving places you and others on the road in danger of a crash; or worse, death.   Designate a sober driver.

Unfortunately, this scenario is all too realistic. Many people wrongly believe there’s a magic number of drinks or hours that determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).  But it’s different for every person. Many factors go into the effect alcohol has on your body. Everywhere in our country, it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. A major misconception is that you have to be stumbling around drunk to be over that limit. For many people, it doesn’t take much alcohol to be too impaired for driving. NHTSA and the SAFE Coalition are hoping to change the way people think about drinking and driving, and help everyone realize that there’s no safe amount of alcohol for any driver.

Drivers convicted of DUI have many excuses, but the reality they all have in common is this: they didn’t plan ahead.  Designating a sober driver ahead of time is the only fool-proof way to avoid the dangers of drunk driving. If you wait until you’ve been drinking to gauge your level of impairment, it’s already too late.  You might tell yourself and others that you’re “okay to drive” when you’re not. Even one drink can impair your judgment and reaction time enough to cause you to overestimate your own abilities as a driver.

So next time you’re going to drink, do us all a favor and make a plan. Some simple ideas: leave your keys at home or give them to a friend; designate a sober driver who isn’t drinking at all; tell others your intentions about driving and stick to the plan; and most importantly—once you’ve had anything to drink, do not drive. Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, so make the choice: are you drinking tonight or are you driving?

Drunk driving is never the right choice, no matter what. Even if you didn’t plan ahead, there’s always another way home. You could call a friend or family member to pick you up; and if you’re worried about leaving your car somewhere overnight, think about the alternative: a DUI costs about $10,000.
Please remember to stay safe by driving sober or by designating a sober driver this New Year’s Eve.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Plan a Sober Ride This Holiday Season - Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving

This holiday season, the SAFE Coalition is teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind all drivers that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving and to always plan a sober ride before the holiday parties begin.  Too many people take to the roadways after consuming alcohol because they think they are “okay to drive.” During the holiday season, festive parties and celebrations with alcohol contribute to the number of impaired drivers on our roadways. 

We want to keep our roads safe this holiday season and help people understand that the only time they should be behind the wheel is when they are sober. Alcohol affects people differently, and you don’t have to be feeling or acting drunk to be too impaired to drive.  Any consumption of alcohol can impair your judgment and reaction times, making it unsafe for you to drive.  Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving is a nationwide impaired driving campaign to inform all Americans about the dangers of driving after drinking.

Drunk driving kills thousands of people in our country every year. In 2015, 35,092 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes on our roadways, and 29 percent (10,265) died in crashes that involved a driver with a blood-alcohol concentration over the legal limit of .08.  This time of year is especially dangerous. In December 2015 alone, there were 840 people killed in crashes involving at least one drunk driver or motorcycle operator.

Drinking and driving should never mix, therefore we want everyone to plan a sober ride in advance if they will be celebrating the holidays with alcohol.  Don’t allow yourself to become a statistic because you failed to plan ahead.  This holiday season, the SAFE Coalition and NHTSA urge you to designate a sober driver before you start drinking. If you plan on drinking at all, plan not to drive.

Remember these tips to avoid a DUI and to keep our roads safe:
·         Even one drink can impair your judgment and reaction time and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk or causing a crash.
·         If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead - designate a sober driver before the party begins.
·         If you have been drinking, do not drive—even a short distance. Call a sober friend or family member.  Also, try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a friend and identify their location so they can be picked up.
·         Help others be responsible. If you see someone you think is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and then take them home, or help them arrange a safe ride home.
·         If you see a driver on the road that appears to be intoxicated, contact police when it is safe to do so. Your actions could help save a life.

Remember to play it safe this holiday season and always plan your sober ride before the festivities begin. If you are buzzed, do not drive. Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.  For more information, visit or contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Merchant Services in Van Buren County

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is active in working with businesses to ensure that they are aware of the Iowa law as it relates to the sale of alcohol. They provide a variety of resources and assistance to any businesses in Van Buren County, these resources include materials, trainings, and assistance with policy change. The coalition also works closely with the Iowa Alcoholic and Beverages division to ensure that all license regulations are being met by license holders.  Services are FREE and are provided at your convenience.


·    FREE to All Businesses in Van Buren County
·    How to properly check an ID
·    Examples of fake and authentic forms of identification
·    Conveniently located– within the county or at your place of business
·    “Could” lower your dram insurance*
·    Information on semi-annual compliance checks
·    All Businesses and employees completing the merchant training will receive certificates of completion valid for two years.
*Each insurance provider has their own policies– you need to check with your insurance provider to determine the discount, if any.

Merchant trainings are scheduled for December, if you or others at your business have not been trained we encourage you to attend one of the upcoming training opportunities.  Also, training certificates are only good for two (2) years.  To find out if any of your staff have expired training certificates you may contact the coalition at 319-293-6412 or

December 20th at 6pm- Roberts Memorial Building
December 21st at 9am- Roberts Memorial Building

RSVP is required for the above trainings. Please contact the coalition at 319-293-6412 to register.

·    Manager Training Binders
·    “We Card” Stickers, Door Clings, Window Clings
·    ID card tip sheet
·    Laminated reference sheets
·    Current laws and fines– updated information on current Iowa Laws
·    Fact Sheets
·    Examples of fake and authentic forms of identification
·    Resources for identification checking machines
·    Need something? Just ask– we can probably get it!

·    Ensure that the patrons you are serving and selling alcohol to are of legal age
·    The SAFE Coalition can assist in:
o    Writing policies for minors in establishments that serve alcohol
o    Providing signage to ensure the policies are followed
o    Training of the policies with all employees of the establishment
o    Developing policies for underage drinking issues

Want more information on these or any of our services?  Contact us at 319-293-6412 or at or check us out on the web at  To sign up for the quarterly Merchant Circle publication provided by the coalition please email and request a copy today!  If you are interested in participating in a group purchase of new and up to date ID Scanners coordinated by the coalition please contact Kris at 319-293-6412 or

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Tips for Party Givers

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition would like to encourage you to avoid making alcohol the main focus of social events this holiday season. Entertain guests with music, dancing, games, food, and lively conversation.  Did you know that one in three adults prefers a non-alcoholic beverage? Make sure to offer plenty of nonalcoholic choices such as sparkling water, fancy juice drinks, soft drinks, and bottled drinking water.  Also provide guests with nutritious and appealing foods to slow the effects of alcohol. High protein and carbohydrate foods like cheese and meats are especially good. They stay in the stomach much longer, which slows the rate at which the body absorbs alcohol. Avoid salty foods, which encourage people to drink more.

Require bartenders to measure the correct amount of liquor into drinks (no doubles), and instruct them not to serve anyone who appears to be impaired. Have the bartender check the ID of anyone who appears to be under the age of 30 (no ID, no alcohol).

Stop serving drinks at least 1 hour before the end of the event.  Instead, serve coffee, non-alcoholic beverages, and desserts at that time.

Your responsibility as a host is even more important when the party is over. Be prepared to offer your guests alternate forms of transportation, such as: Ask someone who was not drinking to drive a guest home; Call someone to come and drive them home; Offer your place to spend the night; If the person insists on driving despite his or her obvious intoxication, take the keys, ask for help from other guests, or temporarily disable the car; If all else fails, say you will call the police (and do so).

The following non-alcoholic drink recipes are a courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Join Together, a national resource center for communities working to reduce substance abuse.  Many of these unique drinks can add “flavor” to your party by giving your guests healthy, tasty alternatives to alcoholic beverages. Enjoy!

Citrus Collins
Fill a 10–12 oz. glass with ice cubes
2 oz. orange juice
1 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. flavored syrup
Fill with club soda. Garnish with an orange slice or a cherry.

Mai Tai
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup club soda
1 tbsp. cream of coconut
1 tbsp. grenadine syrup
In a shaker or tall glass, combine ingredients; shake or stir to blend.  Add crushed ice.

Lemon-Strawberry Punch
6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 pkg. frozen sliced strawberries
6 oz. frozen lemonade concentrate
1 quart carbonated water
1-quart ginger ale
Sliced bananas
Sliced oranges or lemons
Combine frozen lemonade, strawberries (half-thawed with juice), and orange juice. Place in a punch bowl with ice. Just before serving, add carbonated water and ginger ale. Garnish with thin slices of orange, lemon, or banana. Serves 20.

Holiday Delight
Blend the following ingredients in a mixer:
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup frozen strawberries
1/4 cup cranapple juice
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 banana
Pour into a tall glass.

Viennese Coffee
1/4 cup whipped cream
1 tbsp. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat until stiff.  Pour 3 cups of very strong coffee (decaffeinated is fine) into four cups. Float whipped cream mixture on top. Garnish with 1/2 tsp. grated orange peel. Use cinnamon sticks in each cup as servers.