Officials want safe roads Super Bowl weekend

Drivers under the influence have alternatives

Once more, people will gather with family members and enjoy a night of gridiron warfare.

Football fans –– from coast to coast –– are eagerly waiting Super Bowl Sunday, on Feb. 5, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants the public to celebrate responsibly, said Karen Aldana, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

She indicated that drivers should do everything they can to make sure the “mayhem” stays on the football field, and not on the roads. They should not get behind the wheel, if they’ve had too much to drink.

Agency statistics show that automobile crashes related to alcohol-impaired drivers claimed a life every 51 minutes in 2010, she said.

“On Super Bowl Sunday alone, 40 percent of fatalities from motor vehicle crashes were connected to drunk driving,” added Aldana.

The administration is reminding people that “Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk,” she said. People planning to drink alcohol, should have a sober designated driver, or an alternate transportation plan, before the festivities begin, she explained.

Celebrants should pace themselves when drinking alcohol, eat enough food, and drink non-alcoholic beverages as well, said Aldana.

If a person doesn’t find a designated driver, he or she should ask a sober friend for a ride home, or call a taxi, or a friend or family member, said the spokeswoman.

Motorists, who can’t drive home, can also use their local sober ride program, she said.

Joanna Newton, a spokeswoman for AAA The Auto Club, said Budweiser and the association have teamed up to provide the free “Tow to Go” program through Feb. 5. It provides a confidential ride and tow home for those who’ve had too much to drink.

People who need the service, she said, should call 1-800-AAA-HELP.

“Football fans, who celebrate with alcohol, should make the right decision before kick-off and designate a sober driver,” said Newton.

Aldana explained that a person with an intoxicated friend, who is likely to drive home, should never let him or her out of their sight, to ensure they won’t get behind the wheel.

People hosting parties should remember that they will be held liable and prosecuted, if someone they’ve served alcohol, is involved in a drunk-driving accident, she said.

Hosts must be sure friends come with designated drivers, or they could arrange alternate transportation, she explained. “Serve lots of food and include lots of non-alcoholic beverages at the party,” she said.

Hosts, she said, should stop serving alcohol at the end of the game’s third quarter and begin serving coffee and dessert. Contact information for local cab companies should be kept handy.

She said hosts should take the keys away from drivers who’ve had too much to drink.