Cindy Speaker: Good afternoon and welcome to our broadcast today. My name is Cindy Speaker and I have with me, Attorney David Daggett, Daggett Shuler Law and I’m happy to have you David as always. How are you?
David Daggett: Thank you, Cindy. Good to see you.
Cindy Speaker: Good to see you too. Well, we’re going to talk about holiday safety today.
David Daggett: Yes. Yeah, the holiday. Can you believe the holidays are here already?
Cindy Speaker: No, I can’t believe it.
David Daggett: As I age, they seem to come faster and faster every year.
Cindy Speaker: I know what you mean and I am totally not ready for it but I know that we’ll enjoy it. I love it. It’s a wonderful time with the family and that’s the most important part.
David Daggett: Good. Well, you tell your mom hello.
Cindy Speaker: I will. Well, let’s start off and talk about when there’s a lot going on there’s school parties and there’s work parties and all kinds of parties, give us some tips on staying safe in the community when you’re attending these parties.
David Daggett: There’s all sorts of safety issues. There’s safety in the home. There’s safety at parties. The holiday time period seems to magnify the risks that we take and holidays are supposed to be the best of times with family and friends. In an instant, it can be turned to … by drinking and driving. Unfortunately, in what we do for a living, all too often, we see lives that are just shattered by one bad mistake and we see that. We see that parties that get out of control, frequently, alcohol is served and many times, it can become just literally a deadly combination. I know that’s an issue that’s close to your heart also. Your family has been a victim of drinking driver and so-
Cindy Speaker: Yeah. My father was killed by a drunk driver. Yeah.
David Daggett: Right. We need to continue to all pull together and work on these issues. You mentioned a lot of issues and all of them could be an individual seminar in and of themselves. I think that we need to provide ongoing examples and ongoing circle of encouragement and support for our young people to have fun in safe ways and that doesn’t necessarily need to be alcohol at parties. We’ve spoken before. Unfortunately, again, one of the things that we see all too often is parents who, trying to be friends with their underage kids, enable the drinking by buying the alcohol and hosting the parties. I don’t care that you think everybody’s going to spend the night or anything else. That just is not a smart or a good combination. That’s number one.
Number two is us, adults, is we’re all going to Christmas parties and you got to be careful. I’ve got two daughters away at school and one of the things that I always advise to everybody at a party, never drink anything that anybody else poured for you. You don’t know how much is in it and you don’t know exactly what’s in it. The saddest of sad is we see somebody who might be trying to be responsible but some of these sweet punches out of the punch bowl, somebody could put double the alcohol that you think is in there and you’re out of control before you know it. I recommend staying away from the punch bowl, never taking a drink unless you poured it yourself or somebody else did so you know exactly what it is.
Cindy Speaker: That’s a great tip.
David Daggett: Yeah. It happens more than you would ever think. It’s interesting, we have here in town a foremost expert in the United States on teenage binge drinking.
Cindy Speaker: Wow.
David Daggett: When I speak to students, I always say, “You know why she’s the foremost expert? Because she sees it every weekend in the emergency room right here.” A lot of those, it’s good kids, young people. I probably shouldn’t say kids but that they get lured into an unknowing situation and either make a bad choice or an unknowing choice … with consequences. That’s why we have-
Cindy Speaker: I think peer pressure. I think peer pressure comes into play in those instances.
David Daggett: That’s the main focus of our Safe Sober Prom Night Program, is creating an atmosphere of positive peer pressure with young people, so very, very, important. I probably covered young people too much, covered adults. One thing that I think people need to be aware of is the host responsibility.
Cindy Speaker: Yes.
David Daggett: If you’re hosting a party and there’s alcohol there or people … I was at a party a couple of weeks ago that they just had a table and people brought bottles of wine and what have you and put on the table. A host has a responsibility. What the law is if they knew or should have known that a guest had too much to drink and is driving and that guest goes out and causes harm to some unknown third person, the host can be responsible, okay?
Cindy Speaker: That’s interesting.
David Daggett: Did I explain that clearly? Sure.
Cindy Speaker: I want to ask you this if I could. How do you feel about that? What do you think about that law? I mean I have to tell you it kind of seems a little unfair because how do you know that?
David Daggett: Well, the standard is knew or should have known.
Cindy Speaker: Okay.
David Daggett: If you see somebody … What was the recent one that was in the news with the young man who died at a college party or fraternity party?
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, that’s true.
David Daggett: Do I have that right? They he had something like 19 drinks an hour or something like that and so, he didn’t get in a car and go hurt somebody. It was another tragedy but assume he got in a car and left. If that host knew or should have known, you know if the person’s had 19 drinks, they shouldn’t be driving and the host can be responsible in that situation.
Cindy Speaker: Well, it brings up a great point, to think about it if you’re having … I’m sorry. Go ahead.
David Daggett: No. We have a slight delay there but the same, a very similar standard applies to a business, a bar or a restaurant that sells drinks. Again, how do you know who’s driving and that sort of thing but we had one not long ago where we went down and tracked down credit-card receipts and you see that somebody has had $49 worth of drinks over an hour’s period of time and that when they sat down to have the drinks, they laid their car keys on the bar so the drinks … One could assume you’re driving if you got your car keys and you’re by yourself, right?
Cindy Speaker: Right, sure.
David Daggett: $49 worth of drinks in an hour, it’s something, one drink super expensive but this was beer, that’s too much. The server knew or should have known. When you say the standard is unfair, could there be a circumstance where the host doesn’t know that somebody is sneaking drinks or a minor is sneaking drinks? Yes, but then you didn’t have a way to know or should know. I think the law is fair.
Cindy Speaker: Okay I see what you’re saying and frankly, that’s what I was referring to, is I’m thinking about if I had a party, there’s no way that I would allow that to go on if I had any knowledge of it.
David Daggett: Right. The law doesn’t require you to eyeball, count every drink with every person, have a breathalyzer when they leave. However, if I’m at your house and you see that I’m having a beer every 10 minutes over an hour and a half and then I shake my keys and say, “See you later. I’m going to go head down the highway,” then, you knew or should have known and have the responsibility to do something about it.
Cindy Speaker: It’s a great point because I think it makes us all more aware of the responsibilities of being a host of a party.
David Daggett: I’m sorry I mentioned … My nose, I think I’m going to sneeze.
Cindy Speaker: Well, that’s okay.
David Daggett: There’s all the leaves coming down.
Cindy Speaker: You know what I mean? I mean there’s a lot of responsibility there when you host a party.
David Daggett: Sure, there is and there should be because the responsibility is to the innocent, unknown person out there like your father. That’s one of the things where I’m … and I brought up your mother early on because I just love her to death but that’s one of the things that I think’s so important about what we do, is your mother with a house full of kids or five of you and your mom was uninformed about what her rights would have been and she was left in a bad situation without the financial compensation that she should have deserved-
Cindy Speaker: That’s exactly right.
David Daggett: … from the wrongful drunk driver and that was never investigated, so we don’t know what else might have been in that chain of conduct. That’s not fair.
Cindy Speaker: I agree with you.
David Daggett: Bless her heart. She had a rough road and she did it with a smile and a good attitude but if she had been a little bit more informed and sought some help, potentially, it could have been a little easier to her. I hate to bring that-
Cindy Speaker: That’s why I think-
David Daggett: I hate to bring that up but you and me have talked about that before, so I hope I didn’t intrude.
Cindy Speaker: No, not at all but I think that’s part of what I enjoy the opportunity to do shows like this with experts like you and you are an expert in these types of topics because the thing is what my mom went through was very unfair and as you said, she was uninformed and I think all too often, sometimes because of insurance companies and the way they operate, people in these situations don’t realize their rights and, so they are left as victims a second time.
David Daggett: Right. Yeah, absolutely. Not to change the subject but we’re seeing a lot of that right now with regard to life insurance claims that are denied.
Cindy Speaker: Is that right? Yeah.
David Daggett: Uninformed, don’t know where to go, they’re trying to find some little tricky loophole to deny the coverage and the poor retired couple who had been paying their premiums their entire life, they don’t know where to go, where to turn but I changed the subject. Let me get back to holiday safety. We focus on a lot of drinking and driving but there’s a lot of other little things too. For example, the number of house fires goes way up during the holiday season, why, because the Christmas tree, Christmas candles, those sort of things combined with the dry air and sometimes, you have a corner packed with presents and that sort of thing, so you need to be safe.
You need to be careful stringing a bunch of … We saw a situation. Somebody strung a bunch of extension cords together and stuff like that can cause a disaster. We saw a situation once where a toddler pulled over a Christmas tree, can cause some pretty bad damage to a toddler. Be aware of your Christmas decorations, your Christmas lights, all those sort of things.
Cindy Speaker: Great tips.
David Daggett: Yeah. The other thing that we’re seeing a lot of, and it happens every year, is a spike in crimes. Now, a lot of them aren’t violent crimes but they’re present in purse snatchings at shopping centers in malls, in the parking lot, so just simple basic things. Park under the lights. Make sure you have a lighted route to walk. If you have any problem or any concern, most vendors will have extra security in the shop in turn, whatever. They’ll get somebody to escort you to your car or you can get another person who’s a patron to escort you to the car. You just need to be on heightened alert and heightened common sense in those situations.
Likewise, around your home, home break-ins go during the holidays because the bad guys know there’s Christmas presents under the tree, that sort of thing. The number one thing, not everybody can afford alarm system and those sort of things. Those are all good but the number one thing that my police officer friends tell me is that the bad guys don’t like lights. They don’t want to be seen, so pretty cheap, you can get motion detector lights that you can put up yourself just around the outside of your house and that is very … Those motion detector lights, very inexpensive insurance during the holiday season. You just have to have a heightened awareness, heightened common sense and make sure you do the simple little things and that cuts down the vast majority of holiday time criminal activity.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah. Those are all great points. Very helpful.
David Daggett: Child safety, we covered some of that, crime, drinking and driving. What other issues do we need to cover?
Cindy Speaker: I think you covered it all. I mean that’s great information and things you don’t always think about.
David Daggett: If we all do all that, I don’t want to go through all this list and have everybody on red alert, so that you don’t enjoy the joy of the season. What you want to do is do some of these things in advance and use good common sense and good caution so you can enjoy the joy of the season. I wish happy holidays to everybody. Please be safe. Stay smart. If you want to contact us for tips, I think we … Do we have tips on our website? We have tips on our website.
Cindy Speaker: Terrific.
David Daggett: Yeah, DaggettShulerLaw.com or you can send me an e-mail or call us, 336-724-1234. Unfortunately, we have some expertise in holiday safety because we’ve seen, unfortunately, the bad side of holiday safety.
Cindy Speaker: Right, yeah. Well, David, thank you so much for being with us today. I appreciate it.