TOPEKA – Super Bowl Sunday is one of America’s biggest and most entertaining sporting events, as friends and families gather to socialize and watch the big game. Unfortunately, it also has become one of the nation’s most dangerous days to drive, due to impaired driving.
According to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2008, fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes accounted for 32 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities. On Super Bowl Sunday, nearly half the fatalities occurred in crashes where a driver or motorcycle rider had a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher.
That’s why authorities are urging those who watch the game away from home to designate a sober driver in advance of the festivities in order to avoid a front row seat with several of your “best friends” in jail – or a life-altering tragedy.
“State and local law enforcement are well aware of the statistics, and they will be vigilant before, during and after the game,” Kansas Secretary of Transportation Deb Miller said.
“Those who try to beat the system risk stiff fines and mandatory imprisonment. And if you are involved in a crash that takes a life, even if you survive, your life will be changed forever.”
Miller added that people attending Super Bowl parties with friends need to take the initiative and be responsible for their own safety and that of their companions.
“Our message is simple: Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk. That’s the theme for the national enforcement and awareness campaign currently under way in Kansas and around the country,” Miller said. “You need to designate a sober driver, and make sure he or she is the only one who ends up behind the wheel.”
The Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk campaign is sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the National Football League, and state and local transportation and law enforcement agencies across the country to remind everyone to designate a sober driver if they plan on drinking alcohol on Super Bowl Sunday.
KDOT offers these guidelines for a safer, super Sunday:
If you are hosting a Super Bowl party:
* Remember, you can be held liable if someone you served ends up in an impaired-driving crash.
* Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help arrange ride sharing with other sober drivers.
* Serve lots of food and include lots of nonalcoholic beverages.
* Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game and begin serving coffee and dessert.
* Keep the numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving while impaired.
* Set safeguards to ensure that underage persons at your party do not have access to alcohol, or you may be prosecuted.
If you are attending a Super Bowl party or watching at a bar or restaurant:
* Designate your sober driver before the party and give that person your keys.
* Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself – eat enough food, take breaks, and alternate with nonalcoholic 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 pick you up; or just stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.
* If you attend a Regents University, use your community’s SafeRide program.
* Never let a friend leave your sight if you think they are about to drive while impaired.
* Remember, Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.
* Always buckle up – it’s still your best defense against other drivers who may be impaired.
For more information, visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org.