Avoid Super Bowl drinking, driving dangers

Tips for hosts offered

Once again, thousands of Oregonians join millions across the country planning to gather and watch America’s most popular sporting event, the Super Bowl, on Sunday, Feb. 3.

Joining those who are making their plans, law enforcement and traffic safety partners are also planning and urging everyone not to let drunk driving ruin their plans.

Federal, state and local highway safety and law enforcement officials are joining together to spread an important safety message about designating a sober driver on Super Bowl Sunday: “Fans don’t let fans drive drunk.”

Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriff’s Association, Oregon Association Chiefs of Police and ODOT urge fans to join their team by not making critical mistakes that affect you and others on Oregon roads.

“Avoid the penalties by choosing a sober designated driver before the drinking starts or handing off your keys so that you and others on our road can safely arrive home,” said Captain Ted Phillips, director of the OSP Patrol Services Division.

According to NHTSA, Super Bowl Sunday has become one of the nation’s most dangerous days on the road due to impaired driving. Forty-eight percent of fatalities nationwide on Super Bowl Sunday involve a driver or motorcycle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher. In addition in 2010, alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes was almost twice as high during the weekend (31 percent) than during weekdays (16 percent) and four times higher at night (37 percent) than during the day (9 percent).

Last year, three people died on Oregon roads during Super Bowl weekend. Over the last six years on Super Bowl weekend, 14 people have died in traffic crashes on Oregon roads.

The following three-year statistics reflect DUII arrests by OSP troopers and traffic fatalities reported between 12:01 a.m. Saturday through 5:59 a.m. Monday, during the previous six Super Bowl weekends:

n 2012 — Three traffic fatalities; 38 DUII arrests

n 2011 — Two traffic fatalities; 59 DUII arrests

n 2010 — No traffic fatalities; 58 DUII arrests

Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriff’s Association, Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police, ODOT and MADD stress that designating a sober driver should be on the top of everyone’s Super Bowl party list. Report possible intoxicated drivers to 9-1-1 or Oregon State Police dispatch at 800-243-7856.

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If you are hosting a Super Bowl party:

n Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers before kick-off or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers.

n Serve lots of food and include lots of non-alcoholic beverages at the party.

n 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.

n Keep the numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving while impaired.

n Be prepared for guests to spend the night if an alternative way home is not available.

n Remember, you can be held liable 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:

n Designate your sober driver before the party begins and give that person your car keys.

n Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself — eat enough food, take breaks and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.

n 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.

n Use your community’s sober ride programs.

n Never let a friend leave your sight if you think they are about to drive while impaired.

OSP says, “Remember, Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk, and always buckle up — it’s still your best defense against other impaired drivers.”

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