With less than a month remaining until Super Bowl Sunday this year, many fans are already well into the process of planning how they and their friends will watch the big game together. As rapid home tests for COVID-19 become more readily available, it’s becoming possible to plan house parties and get-togethers with a greater degree of safety. But as you plan to navigate the modern dangers of watching the Super Bowl with friends in the time of coronavirus, it’s important to keep in mind the more traditional dangers that come along with this celebration and develop plans to keep yourself and your friends safe from drunk driving.
For most people, Super Bowl celebrations come part and parcel with quite a bit of celebratory (or conciliatory) alcohol. Folks who aren’t sports fans might get together to watch the halftime show and the grand spectacle of some very expensive commercials. Even some of the people who eschew the football game entirely might get together and tune in for the Puppy Bowl; there’s a party to be found out there for almost anyone! And on a day with so much celebration going on, it’s no surprise that drunk driving rates see a spike on Super Bowl Sunday. The average BAC of drunk drivers caught on Super Bowl Sunday is 0.091, about the same BAC as drunk drivers on St. Patrick’s Day and New Year’s.
Most people are aware of the dangers of drunk driving, but a few drinks interfere with a person’s ability to gauge their level of intoxication, and the high of seeing their team win can make a person feel on top of the world, almost invincible. Unfortunately, reality doesn’t support that feeling of invulnerability, and driving under the influence poses very real dangers not only to the driver himself, but everyone else on the road. Nine years ago, after leaving the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans, the aunt and uncle of a player in that game – Delainie Walker of the Tennessee Titans – were killed by a drunk driver. Since their tragic deaths, Walker has been an advocate for sober and responsible driving, reminding motorists to consider the people they put in danger when they get behind the wheel drunk. Drivers should also consider that law enforcement officials know how much people will be drinking on Super Bowl Sunday and will boost their patrols accordingly.
Law enforcement and safety advocates agree that the safest thing you can do is have a plan before you leave the house for whatever party or get-together is your destination. Whether you designate a member of your group as a sober driver, arrange a pick-up by another friend who isn’t joining on your excursion, plan to call a ride-share service like Uber or Lyft, or agree to spend the night at the home of your party’s host, it’s smart to lock in your plan of action before that first beer is cracked open. Research shows that in areas serviced by ride-share apps, the number of drunk driving related accidents has decreased. Some ride-share services will also promote discounted rates during peak Super Bowl times, making ordering a ride an even more attractive option.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that shortly after the game ends will be the most dangerous time to be on the road, even if you use a ride-share or a designated sober friend. For most people, the end of the game signals the end of the party, and the mass departure from restaurants, sports bars, and house parties will happen at roughly the same time. If you have a safe place to do so, it may be safest to wait out the surge of departing partygoers and make your own return trip when the streets are clearer of potential drunk drivers. If you’re hosting the party, please consider your guests’ safety as part of your party planning. Keep an eye on your friends to ensure that no one tries to drive home drunk, and if you have the room available, offer crash space for the night to anyone who needs it. Even offering to let your guests hang out quietly for an hour or two until the roads are less crowded could help keep them safe from drunk drivers. It doesn’t hurt to discuss with your friends what their plans are for getting home safely after your party; it reminds them to think ahead and gives you an opportunity to offer help where you can.
The fact is, America’s roads have been getting more dangerous in the past two years, and any steps you can take to keep yourself and others safer on any day of the year, particularly a day like Super Bowl Sunday which carries elevated risk of drunk driving accidents, are more important than ever.
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If you or a loved one is charged with a DWI in NJ, contact my office immediately. I am a New Jersey criminal trial attorney board certified by the NJ Supreme Court. New Jersey’s DWI laws are extremely complex. Anyone who is charged with a SERIOUS court case needs to have an experienced criminal defense attorney. I can review your case and the evidence against you and advise you as to all possible defenses to make sure that you are properly represented. In many cases and circumstances a successful defense can lead to a downgrade or even the dismissal of the charges against you. Please contact me now by email, by phoning 908.264.7701, or by completing the form to the right to schedule your complimentary 30-minute strategy session.