Safe Communities encourages responsible drinking

December 29th, 2006    Author: Rodney Beckwith    Filed Under: News

With the new year approaching and lots of celebrations planned, Safe Communities is hoping that drivers will remember to be responsible around alcohol and that party hosts will serve less alcoholic fare this New Year’s Eve.

After the successful completion of a “mocktail party” at Mercy Hospital Clermont, Martha Enriquez, local Safe Communities coordinator, is hoping that delicious drinks this season will be healthier and less dangerous to drivers.

“We were very pleased with the attendance,” said Enriquez. “There were several people from Safe Communities who came, and the traffic from the hospital was also good. Lots of hospital employees came during their lunchtime. There were probably twice as many people attending as last year.”

“Mocktails” are drinks similar to cocktails, but contain no alcohol. Last year, Safe Communities held a mocktail party and contest at Mercy Clermont to see what department of the hospital could come up with the most tasty drink. This year, a repeat performance drew even more onto the safe drink wagon, which Enriquez said is designed to help prevent traffic accidents caused by alcohol.

"This was done as an effort to decrease drinking and driving, especially over the holidays," said Enriquez. "The hospital and Safe Communities are both concerned about that. I appreciate the hospital sponsoring it and letting us have the space and time. We intend to do it next year. One of the departments said they already have their recipes planned for next year."

Employing a lot of creativity in terms of the name and composition of the mocktails, the various departments try to market their drinks to a panel of judges and to the public at large in order to win the coveted best mocktail award. This year, Enriquez said that the judges chose a non-alcoholic shot with a less than appetizing name, which belied the appeal of the drink itself.

"The judges choice was the snotshot, which was a jello-based drink," said Enriquez. "Last year, out of 27 fatal crashes, five were alcohol related. There were a total of 5,132 crashes in Clermont last year, and that's everything from a fender bender to a major crash. Of those, 282 were alcohol related. This is a light-hearted way of dealing with a really serious subject."
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