Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk

ODPS Encourages You to Make the Right Play
to Save Lives This Super Bowl Weekend
Columbus – As you make your Super Bowl plans, the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration want to remind you that “Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.” The right play for the big game is to plan ahead and designate a sober driver in advance.

Super Bowl Sunday is one of America’s biggest and most entertaining national sporting events, yet it has also become one of the Nation’s most dangerous days on the roadways due to impaired driving. Nationally, in 2007 on Super Bowl Sunday (12:01 a.m. Sunday to 5:59 a.m. Monday), 48 percent of the fatalities occurred in crashes where a driver or motorcycle rider had a blood alcohol concentration level of .08 or higher.

“Driving safe and sober should always be a priority, but this weekend, with extra parties and events being planned, we are reminding everyone to pass their keys to a sober driver before the party begins,” said ODPS Director Henry Guzmán. “Bars, establishments and those hosting parties should plan ahead as well to arrange ride- sharing, provide contact information for cab services and ensure no one is over-served.”

Ohio’s statistics for 2008 show that three people died and 92 people were injured in close to 200 crashes that involved alcohol over the Super Bowl weekend. Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers reported 308 OVI arrests around the state for that same time period, and during the month of February 2008, local law enforcement agencies reported 105 OVI arrests through enforcement hours paid for through ODPS’ Ohio Traffic Safety Office (OTSO).

Getting caught driving while impaired will earn you a costly penalty from law enforcement and may even result in a turnover of your driving privileges. For bars and establishments, over-serving or serving underage could also mean costly fines, suspension or revocation of their liquor permit.

To help keep the roads safe this Super Bowl weekend, more than 60 local law enforcement agencies around the state will be conducting more than 1,400 hours of enforcement activity and 900 hours of saturation patrols in addition to sobriety checkpoints, funded by federal grants provided through OTSO. The Ohio State Highway Patrol will have a visible presence on the state’s highways and Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU) agents will be doing compliance checks in permit establishments as well as working with local law enforcement.

Designating a sober driver should be on the top of everyone’s Super Bowl party list along with these tips to stay safe:

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 a sober driver.
Keep the numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving while impaired.
Serve lots of food and include 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.

If you are attending a Super Bowl party or watching at a sports bar or restaurant:
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.
Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself – eat enough food, take breaks, and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
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.


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