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Today's Family Magazine

28th annual Protect & Serve Tavern event

This holiday season, the Lake County Crime Prevention Taskforce, the Lake County Association of Chiefs of Police and the Lake County Safe Communities Coalition will team up with the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to host an event to remind all drivers about the dangers of drinking and driving.  The 28th Annual Protect & Serve Tavern will take place Saturday, December 9 from noon–3:00 pm at the Great Lakes Mall, located at 7850 Mentor Avenue in Mentor. 

What is the event about?
This event will help remind Lake County residents –and beyond– to drive sober this holiday season.  This event is also meant to encourage people at or above the legal drinking age to consider a fun “mocktail” drink instead of drinking alcohol and possibly driving while drunk.  Local police chiefs and judges will hand out nonalcoholic drinks with snacks to mall shoppers and, because of many generous donations from local businesses, this event is free to the public.  Local police departments will also invite shoppers to try the “fatal vision” goggle activity, which mimics alcohol impairment.  This activity is used to raise awareness about the dangers of drunk driving to the public.  Free recipes featuring tasty nonalcoholic beverages created by the Lake County police departments will be available, and there will be a raffle for a chance to win a “mocktail” basket with all the fixings to make your own nonalcoholic beverages. 

With the holiday festivities and extra office parties taking place, it is important to plan a sober ride home before the events begin.  Here are a few simple tips to ensure that everyone has a fun evening and gets home safely:
  • Plan a safe way home before festivities begin.
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver.
  • If you are impaired, take a taxi, ride share, or call a sober friend or family member for a ride home.
  • If you happen to see an impaired driver on the road, call #667 to reach law enforcement.
Why is this event important?
According to the Ohio Traffic Safety Office, there were four fatal crashes during the last holiday season (November 2022–January 2023) with two of them being operating a vehicle impaired (OVI)-related.  From February 2023 until present day, there have been eight more fatal crashes with four of them being OVI-related.  The Protect and Serve Tavern is held to educate the public about driving sober not only during the holidays, but all year long.  The goal is to reduce the number of fatal crashes in Lake County with the hope of getting that number down to zero. 

What is the Safe Communities Coalition?
The Lake County General Health District is the lead agency for the Lake County Safe Communities Coalition and the goal is to reduce the number of traffic-related motor vehicle deaths in Lake County by increasing seat belt usage, increasing motorcycle safety awareness, and reducing distracted and impaired driving. The Coalition also participates in national campaigns including “Click It or Ticket” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” 

For more events, meeting information and volunteer opportunities, consider joining The Lake County Safe Communities Coalition!  There is no county restriction.  If you are interested in learning more or joining, contact Emily Kolacz at 440-350-2451.