Friday, February 3, 2012

2/3/12: Alcohol and the Superbowl

Alcohol and the Superbowl
On February 5, millions of Americans will drive to a friend or family member's house to watch the Giants meet the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. While the big game is one of the most exciting events of the football season, it is also one of the most dangerous as roads are filled with too many impaired drivers wending their way back home after the parties. Contributing to the inherent dangers of drinking and driving is the relatively late kickoff (6:30 p.m., ET) and the fact that the game may go on for hours.
Last year approximately 151.6 million people viewed at least part of the Super Bowl. Americans consume more than 325.5 million gallons of beer during the Super Bowl, which is approximately 17 times the amount consumed on the average any other day of the year (Nielsen Research).
According to the most recent figures from the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2010, alcohol-impaired-driving crashes accounted for 31 percent of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities. On Super Bowl Sunday, 48 percent of the fatalities occurred in crashes in which a driver or motorcycle rider had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 or higher. In fact, more than 13,000 Americans died that year in crashes involving an impaired driver.
The U.S. Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), with support from the National Football League (NFL) have joined forces with local highway safety and 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.

“This message is for everyone who will be drinking during the big game. Make the right play and pass your keys to a designated driver so they can get you home safely,” said Captain Ivan Minsal. “There is no excuse to get flagged for a false start.”

Driving while impaired could result in a loss of your driver’s license or even possibly the loss of your or someone else’s life. On Super Bowl Sunday, make it a team effort to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. If you plan on driving, plan not to drink alcohol.

If you are hosting a Super Bowl party:
• Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers before kick-off or help arrange ride-sharing with sober drivers.
• Find unique ways to recognize the designated drivers at your party:
  -Give them a great spot to watch the game.
  -Whatever non-alcoholic beverage they are drinking, make sure their glass is always full.
 - Let them have the first pass at the buffet table.
 - Make sure their cars are easy to access when it is time to start driving people home.
• Serve plenty of food.
• Offer a variety of non-alcoholic choices like soft drinks, juice, and water.
• Serve one drink at a time and serve measured drinks.
• Only serve alcohol to guests over 21 years of age.
• Determine ahead of time when you’ll stop serving alcohol, such as one hour before the party ends or at the end of the third quarter (just like NFL stadiums) and begin serving coffee and dessert.
• Add the numbers of local cab companies into your phone so they are just one touch away.
• Take appropriate steps to prevent anyone from drinking and driving.
• Be prepared for guests to spend the night if an alternative way home is not available.
• Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in a drunk-driving crash.

If you are attending a Super Bowl party or watching at a sports bar or restaurant, please follow these guidelines to make sure you enjoy Super Bowl XLVI responsibly:
• Designate your sober driver before the party begins.
• Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself—eat enough 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 just stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.
• Use your community’s sober ride program.
• Always buckle up – it’s the best defense against other drunk driving.

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