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Super Bowl Aftermath Leads to Rise in Alcohol-Related Incidents

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Super Bowl Aftermath Leads to Rise in Alcohol-Related Incidents

The aftermath of the Super Bowl is not always about celebrating the winning team.  For some individuals it is about coming to grips with the devastating effects of drinking and driving after the game.  A sad fact that surveys show, is becoming a predictable pattern.

As the highest level of professional football in the United States, the Super Bowl typically ends with millions of fans gathering in private homes and at sports bars for the grand finale. Preparations preceding the games too often include stocking up on alcoholic drinks as the chaser for chips, dips, hot dogs, and burgers. In most instances, there is a significant difference in the alcohol to food ratio with alcohol being the greater. As the Super Bowl goes on, so does the drinking, which often continues long after the food has been consumed.

In the last five years, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been tracking the number of alcohol-related incidents that occur following the Super Bowl between 5:00 pm on Sunday and 4:00 am on Monday morning.  The figures have been so alarming that it has begun to taint, at least for some, the biggest sports event in America.  According to NHTSA statistics, at least 40% of vehicular crashes with fatalities that occurred on Super Bowl Sunday alone, were directly related to drunk driving.  Crash data analyzed in 2010 also revealed that every 51 minutes an alcohol impaired driver was responsible for a crash that claimed at least one life that year on Super Bowl Sunday.

For southern California residents, the numbers are particularly concerning according to road safety officials from the Auto Club of Southern California. When compared with other Sundays, crash data for Los Angeles was 57% higher on Super Bowl Sunday, while in the city of San Diego, crashes causing death or serious injury increased by 117% during this same period.

Why the Rise in Deaths?

NHTSA attributes the spike in vehicular accidents to the failure to adhere to safety tips that are important at any event where alcohol is being consumed such as:

  • Being proactive about designating a sober driver or making an alternate transportation plan before heading to a Super Bowl party.
  • Not paying attention to how much alcohol is being consumed.
  • Binge drinking or exceeding safe drinking limits within a short period of time.
  • Not eating a sufficient amount of food to counter the effects of alcohol.
  • Consuming only alcoholic beverages consistently and regularly for hours or the duration of the game.
  • Too many people drinking at the same pace at the same time, and that very often includes the person hosting the party.

Serious Consequences

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration also cautions people who host Super Bowl parties that they can be held responsible and even be prosecuted if a guest at their home ends up in a drunk driving accident.  As such, the NHTSA recommends for future Super Bowl events that party hosts do the following:

  • Take the initiative to ensure that all their guests who will be drinking have designated sober drivers or have made arrangements to get home safely after the game.
  • Ensure that guests who will be consuming alcohol also have enough non-alcoholic beverages and food.
  • Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game and offer other options such as water, coffee, tea and dessert.
  • Have the number for local taxi companies or another sober family member available.
  • Confiscate the keys from anyone who is intoxicated and attempting to drive themselves or others after the game.

As the deadly drunk driving trend continues to haunt Super Bowl Sunday, the National Commission Against Drunk Driving warns Americans that the risks are equal to New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day. Other risks associated with Super Bowl Sunday include distractions while driving, bar fights, neglecting children or elders during the game, and slip and fall accidents due to inebriation.

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