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Heading into New Year’s Eve, Baltimore Ranks As 'Drunken City' (VIDEO)

In an unscientific ranking by The Daily Beast, Baltimore was declared one of the nation’s drunkest cities.

When it comes to cutting someone off at the bar, Ellicott City bartender Kate Bennett knows the drill well.

“You just walk up to them…If they ask for another drink, be like, ‘Why don’t we get you water for right now, it might just seem a little safer for you,’” Bennett explains. “Some people handle it pretty well, some people don’t.”

With New Year’s Eve around the corner, bartenders across the country are gearing up for one of the biggest party nights of the year.

With the booze flowing on New Year’s Eve, there also comes a certain amount of risk.

According to the Maryland State Police, which is in the midst of promoting its “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, there were 193 DUI arrests on the night of New Year’s Eve in 2010.

Meanwhile, Baltimore ranked 37th out of 40 of America’s drunkest cities in a (non-scientific) Daily Beast list. The analysis included data from a market-research firm and from information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It ranked right after Las Vegas and just before Cedar Rapids, IA, with Milwaukee ranking No. 1 and Jacksonville, FL, ranking last. Washington, D.C., did not make the list.

According to the online publication, the average Baltimorean drinks approximately 12 drinks a month.  In addition, the analysis showed that 5 percent of the adult population of Baltimore could be described as “heavy drinkers” while about 15 percent are binge drinkers.

In the meantime, New Year’s Eve isn’t necessarily the most popular night to drink. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Thanksgiving eve has become the most popular night to imbibe.

Ellicott City’s Phoenix Emporium owner Mark Hemmis says that his bar does the best business the night before Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas.

“St. Patrick’s Day is also big for us,” Hemmis said.

But that doesn’t mean he isn’t gearing up for New Year’s festivities. He will be keeping the downstairs of his restaurant open through the wee hours of New Year's Day.

Before the big night, here are some additional alcohol-related statistics to keep in mind.

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatalities from alcohol-related crashes account for one in three U.S. roadway deaths each year. In 2010, 154 people died in alcohol-related car accidents in the state of Maryland.
  • According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of the adult U.S. population drank alcohol in the past 30 days, while 15 percent of the population took part in binge drinking. The CDC defines binge drinking for women as having four or more drinks during a single occasion, while for men, binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks during a single occasion. 
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention excessive alcohol use is the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death for Americans each year.
  • For underage drinkers, alcohol is the most commonly abused drug. As stated by the CDC, people aged 12-20 drink 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States. More than 90 percent of that alcohol is consumed by binge drinking. 

Bennett's advice is to make sure you have a designated driver if you're going to imbibe on New Year's Eve, or call a cab.

See below for local cab information:

Yellow Cab of Howard County, Jessup: 410-799-0000

Columbia Taxi Service, Elkridge: 240-210-6688

Safe-T-Ride USA,  Southern Maryland: 301-910-9854

Tipsy Cab Service, Baltimore area: 877-963-8294

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