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Booze It And Lose It This Super Bowl Sunday

Thursday, February 02, 2006 | 06:00pm

Law enforcement working overtime this weekend to crack down on drunk driversNashville, TN –The Governor’s Highway Safety Office and the Tennessee Department of Safety are joining a nation-wide sober driving enforcement and public education campaign for Super Bowl Sunday. The two agencies held their own sober driving Super Bowl “party” at Titan’s Stadium in Nashville today. They announced that Tennessee Highway Patrol Officers, along with local police and sheriff’s departments across the state, will be out in full force on Super Bowl Sunday as part of the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), National Football League (NFL), Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management (TEAM), and Recording Artists, Actors and Athletes Against Drunk Driving (RADD) campaign to remind everyone that real “Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk”.

“The message is simple – Booze It and Lose It,” said Interim Department of Safety and Department of Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “If you plan on using alcohol, designate a sober driver or take a cab. Between sobriety checkpoints, roving patrols, undercover officers and concerned citizens, chances are if you choose to drive impaired this Super Bowl Sunday, you will be caught.”

Super Bowl Sunday is one of America’s biggest and most entertaining national sporting events, but it is also one of the nation’s most dangerous days on the roadways due to impaired driving. According to the NHTSA, 51 percent of the fatal accidents that occurred during the 2004 Super Bowl weekend involved an impaired driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.

“The Super Bowl is a sports fan’s national holiday and we want everyone to make the right play for the big game,” said Kendell Poole, Director of TDOT’s Governor’s Highway Safety Office.
“Before the Super Bowl party begins, pass your keys to a sober, designated driver and if you’re throwing a Super Bowl party make sure your friends act responsibly because if someone you serve ends up in an impaired driving crash, you can be held responsible.”

Last year, 43% of the fatal crashes that occurred on Tennessee highways over the Super Bowl weekend were alcohol related.

“No matter the outcome of the game, make sure you come out a winner this Super Bowl Sunday by designating a sober driver,” stated Don MacLachlan, Titan’s Executive Vice President of Administration. “Getting a ride from a sober friend is always a winning play.”

The Governor’s Highway Safety Office continues to remind everyone to plan ahead. If you find it hard to determine whether you’ve had too much alcohol to drive – don’t risk it. Most likely if you’re feeling ‘buzzed,’ you’re impaired, and if you drive, law enforcement will be out in force looking to find you.

If you are hosting a Super Bowl party:

  • Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in an impaired driving crash.
  • Make sure all of your guests designate sober drivers in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers.
  • Serve a lot of food——and include a variety of non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
  • 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.

If you are attending a Super Bowl party or watching at a sports bar or restaurant:

  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself—eat enough food, take breaks and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Designate your sober driver before the party begins and give that person your car keys.
  • 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.
  • 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 impaired drivers.

NFL’s Season-long Commitment to Community & Traffic Safety

The Super Bowl effort is part of the NFL-TEAM-RADD’s season-long Responsibility Has Its Rewards designated driver program at every NFL stadium nationwide, including the Tennessee Titans’. Fans who pledged to be designated drivers at NFL games were eligible to enter a drawing to be selected as the team’s designated driver for the season. The selected designated drivers for each of the two teams that compete in the Super Bowl received two tickets, airfare and hotel accommodations to attend the big game.

In addition, one designated driver from an NFL team that does not play in the Super Bowl will be chosen at random to attend the 2006 NFL Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii.

For more information, please visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org or www.TeamCoalition.org.

SUPER BOWL DRIVING FACTS
Pass Your Keys to a Sober, Designated Driver Before the Super Bowl Begins.

  • Super Bowl Sunday is one of the year’s most dangerous days on the nation’s roadways due to impaired driving.
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 158 people died during the 2004 Super Bowl weekend due to impaired drivers with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels of .08% and higher. That means 51 percent of all traffic fatalities that happened on 2004 Super Bowl weekend involved an impaired driver.
  • According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, four people were killed in accidents involving an impaired driver in Tennessee during the 2005 Super Bowl weekend. That represents 43 percent of all fatal crashes during that time period. That’s up from 22 percent in 2004.
  • NHTSA reports that young males, ages 21 to 34, are most likely to be involved in automobile crashes, to drive while impaired and to be among those least likely to wear their safety belts. Research also shows that this same demographic is the core audience for major sporting events such as the Super Bowl.
  • In 2004, nearly 13,000 people died in highway crashes involving an impaired driver or motorcycle operator with an illegal BAC level of .08% or higher.
  • But alcohol-related crashes—and fatalities—can be prevented. Designating a sober driver before the Super Bowl party begins is just one of several easy steps to remember to help save lives.

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