The day of the Super Bowl is one of the biggest drinking days of the year, and that means the roads in and around Raleigh will be dotted with sobriety checkpoints. Neighborhoods will see more patrol cars around, too. The objective is to get as many drunk drivers off the roads as possible, so local and state law enforcement will not hesitate to stop drivers they believe are driving drunk or committing even the most minor traffic offense.
Authorities have good reason to be worried. Super Bowl Sunday ranks with St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween and the Fourth of July when it comes to alcohol-related accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 2010’s game day saw one person die every 52 minutes in an alcohol-related accident. Drunk driving was linked with 40 percent of all fatal crashes that day.
Safety advocates urge partygoers to take some simple steps to keep themselves and others safe. The first recommendation is to appoint a designated driver — and to make the job fun and rewarding. Passengers, hosts and commercial establishments can arrange rewards or special perks for designated drivers.
If you are having people over, make sure everyone knows they are welcome to stay the night if they’re not comfortable driving. It is also a good idea to have numbers for cabs on hand. Game night is a busy time for taxis, so try to keep guests occupied as they wait — impatience and intoxication will surely lead to carelessness behind the wheel.
Hosts, including bars and restaurants, can stop serving alcohol during the third quarter. Offer coffee and dessert, or have iced tea available.
If nothing else works, friends should take car keys away from anyone they think shouldn’t be driving. At small gatherings, hosts can ask for car keys as people arrive; they’ll only get them back after the party if they are able to drive safely.
Keeping friends, family members and guests safe isn’t complicated, but it can be difficult. A pledge among friends to watch out for each other can go a long way to making it a memorable day for all the right reasons.
Source: Washington Post, “Super Bowl Sunday brings drunk-driving warnings,” Ashley Halsey III, Feb. 3, 2012