Since neither the Green Bay Packers nor the Detroit Lions will be playing for the Lombardi Trophy this year, fans may be tempted to drown their disappointment by drinking too much on Super Bowl Sunday.
That could be dangerous-or even deadly-if they decide to drive.
The sobering fact is that in about the same amount of time as it takes to conclude the first half of the Super Bowl, someone may be injured or killed in an alcohol-related traffic crash in Wisconsin.
"On average, a person is killed or injured in an alcohol-related crash approximately every two hours in Wisconsin," says State Patrol Major Sandra Huxtable, director of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Bureau of Transportation Safety. "On Super Bowl Sunday, football fans all over the state will be drinking at bars and parties before, during and after the game. That's why we are urging fans to not let their fellow fans drive drunk. The key is to plan ahead."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), along with the National Football League (NFL) and Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management (TEAM) Coalition, also want to remind everyone who will be drinking while watching the Super Bowl to create a game plan to get home safely.
In 2010, 10,228 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter or higher.
To remind drivers of the dangers of drunken driving, WisDOT as part of its federally funded Zero In Wisconsin traffic safety campaign will air a new television commercial throughout the state during the Super Bowl and the remainder of February.
The commercial features a group of professional freestyle snowmobilers performing remarkable acrobatic stunts. Their message is-it would be outrageously crazy to perform snowmobile stunts while drunk and it would be just as ridiculously reckless to drive a car or truck while drunk.
For a safe and fun Super Bowl celebration, traffic experts offer the following life-saving advice:
- If you're hosting a party, serve lots of food and have non-alcoholic beverages available. Take care of your guests, and don't let them drive if they're impaired.
- Don't serve any amount of alcohol to anyone under the age of 21. Wisconsin's and Michigan's Absolute Sobriety Law prohibits drivers under age 21 from having any alcohol in their system while behind the wheel.
- Pace your consumption of alcohol, and don't drink on an empty stomach.
- If you're feeling buzzed, you're probably over the limit and risk being arrested for operating while intoxicated if you drive.
- Offer a variety of non-alcoholic choices like soft drinks, juice, and water.
- Serve one drink at a time and serve measured drinks.
- Determine ahead of time when you'll stop serving alcohol, such as one hour before the end of the party or at the end of the third quarter of the game and begin serving coffee and dessert.
- Add the numbers of local cab companies into your phone so they are just one touch away.
- Be prepared for guests to spend the night if an alternative way home is not available.
- Plan ahead and designate a sober driver.
- Designated drivers should be over the age of 21 have a valid driver's license, and promise to not drink alcohol before or during the game.
- Designated drivers should be well rested and prepared to drive any distance that is required to get their impaired passengers home safely.
- Always buckle up - it's your best defense on the road.
"Our advice is 'designate before you celebrate.' We don't want your enjoyment of the Super Bowl to be ruined by a drunken driving arrest or even worse a crash that causes serious injuries or death," says Major Huxtable. "If everyone will take responsibility for driving sober on Super Bowl Sunday and throughout the year, we can make progress toward the goal of reducing the number of preventable traffic deaths to Zero in Wisconsin."