As one of America’s most anticipated and celebrated sporting events, the Super Bowl brings together families, friends and fans each year to enjoy the excitement of the big game. In many instances, fans will gather to watch the game at sports bars, restaurants or Super Bowl-themed parties. The U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, along with the National Football League and TEAM (Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management), have joined forces with The Prince William County Department of Fire & Rescue and PWC law enforcement officials to spread an important safety message to the public about designating a sober driver on Super Bowl Sunday – Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.
“Before choosing to drink, choose a sober designated driver. Avoid the unsportsmanlike conduct of driving drunk by handing off your keys so that you, your passengers and everyone on our roads can safely arrive home,” said Assistant Fire & Rescue Chief Lance McClintock. “Drunk driving is always preventable, and driving drunk could result in seriously injuring or killing yourself or someone else. Motorists can expect local law enforcement agencies to have a visible presence and to stop anyone who makes the dangerous decision to drink and drive.”
According to NHTSA, 10,228 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2010. These drunk-driving fatalities accounted for 31 percent of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States. In addition, alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes was almost twice as high during the weekend (31%) than during weekdays (16%) and four times higher at night (37%) than during the day (9%).*
If you’re attending a Super Bowl party or watching the game at a sports bar or restaurant:
· Designate your sober driver before the party begins.
· Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself. Eat plenty of food, take breaks, and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
· If you don’t have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend, or family member to come and get you; or if possible stay where you are for the night and don’t drive until you are sober.
· Never let friends drive drunk. Arrange a safe way for them to get home.
· Always buckle up. It’s still your best defense against other drunk drivers.
If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party:
· Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with sober drivers.
· Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
· Host your party just like they do at the stadium. Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game. The fourth quarter is perfect for serving coffee and dessert.
· Keep the phone numbers of local cab companies on hand and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving drunk.
· Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in a drunk-driving crash.
· If an underage person drinks and drives, the parent may be legally liable for any damage, injury or death caused by the underage driver.
· Likewise, parents or other adults who provide alcohol to, or host a party where alcohol is available to, those under age 21 could face jail time.
“By the time we see you out on the roadway hurt or worse it’s too late,” said Fire Chief Kevin McGee, “Make sure you make the right call before you drink and drive, a designated driver is just a call away.”