The Super Bowl is one of the most widely watched events in sports, and the number one at-home party event of the year.
It is also one of the most dangerous for alcohol related incidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2010, over 10,000 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes that involved at least one driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
The percentage of traffic fatalities that are alcohol related is higher on Super Bowl Sunday than on New Year's Eve or St. Patrick's Day.
Additionally, the number of had-been-drinking fatal crashes on Super Bowl weekend tends to be higher than an average weekend.
"Drafting designated drivers will be a sure win for everybody at your party," said Michigan Liquor Control Commission Chairman Andy Deloney.
"The Michigan Liquor Control Commission is reminding football fans that if your plans include alcohol, make the right decision before kickoff and plan for safe celebrations," Deloney said in a statement.
Allowing the opposing team zero points undoubtedly would lead to victory in the Super Bowl.
Like the 49ers and Ravens, the Wisconsin State Patrol and its law enforcement partners will strive for a shutout on Super Bowl Sunday-zero deaths and injuries from traffic crashes.
"Officers will be particularly focused on preventing drunken driving on Super Bowl Sunday because football fans will be at bars and parties before, during and after the game," says State Patrol Maj. Sandra Huxtable, director of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Bureau of Transportation Safety.
"That's why we are urging fans to not let their fellow fans drive drunk," Maj. Huxtable said. "The key is to plan ahead by designating a sober driver or finding alternative transportation. Last year, there were no fatal traffic crashes in Wisconsin on Super Bowl Sunday, and law enforcement officers will crackdown on impaired drivers again this Sunday to prevent deaths and injuries."
For a safe and fun Super Bowl celebration, WisDOT and the State Patrol 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 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 0.08 limit and risk being arrested for operating while intoxicated if you drive.
- Above all, plan ahead and designate a sober driver.
- If you see a vehicle traveling erratically and suspect the driver may be impaired, call 911 (as soon as you can make the call safely) and provide as much detail as possible about your location along with the license plate and description of the other vehicle.
The Michigan Liquor Control Commission also offers the following tips:
- Have designated drivers. Plan to have sober drivers at your party who can escort folks home. Volunteer to be a sober driver at someone else's party.
- Plan ahead to get keys. Prepare a basket or bowl where all of your guests can leave their keys. You are the only person who can retrieve the keys. This way, you can prevent a guest who drank too much from getting behind the wheel.
- Have a cab fare fund. Having available cash to pay cab fare for your guests if they need it reduces the stress on you. If you can't afford to pay for it yourself, ask your guests to pitch in a few bucks on your invitation.
- Have a phone number for a cab company handy. Print the name of a local cab company on your invitation and ask your guests to program it into their mobile phones.
- Plan to be sober. Be a responsible host. Limiting your own alcohol intake will allow you to better determine if a guest is sober enough to drive at the end of the night.
- Don't force drinks on your guests. Also, don't rush to refill their glasses when empty.
- Be a smart host; push the food, not the alcohol on your guests. Food is the key.
- Always serve food with alcohol. It is proven that food can help counter the effects of alcohol.
- Stop serving alcohol one hour before the party ends. Serve only coffee, tea and non-alcoholic beverages as the party comes to a close. As the host or hostess, it is your responsibility to help your guests get home safely, so limit the amount of alcohol served toward the end of the party as guests prepare to leave or go home.
"Our advice is 'designate before you celebrate,'" Major Huxtable said. "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."
"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."